Writing should be a dangerous activity

Η Τίφανι Γιανίκ για το βιβλίο της How to Escape from a Leper Colony (Graywolf Press, 2010 – απόσπασμα):

Many of the stories in your collection have multiple characters telling the same story. Why did you take this approach?

Creating a story is less important to me than creating a human being on the page. For example, the Anansi stories my grandmother used to tell me. I remember Anansi and how tricky and playful he was and what an ass he was most of the time. I remember these traits much more than I remember what actually happened in the story. So for me, the kind of fiction I enjoy and the kind of fiction I write relies on intriguing characters more so than a clever plot. I know plot is important but starting with that isn’t the most natural thing for me. It’s something that happens way after I develop my characters.

Many of the stories in the collection use a male voice. What techniques do you use when you’re writing in the voice of a different gender?

I was afraid to do it. I was always sensitive to the fact that I was writing from a male perspective, a male voice. I was very careful about it. It meant treading slowly and being specific. You’re in danger, you know? You’re walking on glass. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done. But I think you have to be aware of the danger that you’re putting yourself and your character into.

Each character in the book demanded a different technique. For example, when I wrote “Street Man”, I spent time in St. Thomas. I just sat on the corner and talked to the guys there. I really listened to them, what they thought about love, how they spoke about it. And I listened to not just what they said, but how they said it. What kind of vocabulary did they use, what kind of sentence structure. I was being a kind of anthropologist—or maybe just a nosy-ass chick.  Those men helped me figure out how to create an honest,non-anthropological character.

You spoke of being in danger when creating a character. What do you feel in danger of?

I mean that writing should be a dangerous activity.  You should be risking something large.  Otherwise, what really are you offering your reader?  Or yourself, for that matter.  I think when you write a character that is a different sex than you are you have to be aware that you are writing into a space that is foreign to you.  You are heading into foreign territory.  There might be landmines there.  Shit, you just didn’t know about the terrain of that character.

Ολόκληρη η συνέντευξη εδώ.

Miniature graves

Our kind doesn’t die from anything, all we do is die all the time.

Γκρέις Κριλάνοβιτς, The Orange Eats Creeps

The things you’ve made –your creations, little minions, little lumps of cloth, little masks– will leave you. You can’t really own them even though they are shadows of your body. Symptoms that will be shed, forming the residue of your life on the surface of your existence, like all surfaces that your eyes have coated with their gaze. Like a snake shedding its skin, your residue forms a ghost image all over town, everywhere you have ever been. Don’t fight it. The ghost guide will lead you all over the world in connecting shadows, a chain link of dark felt memories.

Most people think you only get one grave. This is not true. The spaces you inhabit, the territory you belong to, the town of your birth – it’s all coated in miniature graves, dappling every surface as you blow through town; a residue of metallic vagabond hail.

Το σάουντρακ του βιβλίου όπως το κατέγραψε η συγγραφέας στο Largehearted Boy, και μια συνέντευξη. Παρακάτω, η Κριλάνοβιτς στο γιορτασμό της επιλογής των 5 κάτω των 35 του Εθνικού Ιδρύματος Βιβλίου των ΗΠΑ το 2010 (επελέγη μαζί με την Τέα Όμπρεχτ, τη Σάρα Μπρόντστεϊν, την Τίφανι Γιανίκ και τον Πολ Γιουν):