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Author Archive: "Aryn Kyle"

Powell’s Q&A: Aryn Kyle

Describe your latest book.
In general, I think that authors are probably the last people who should be describing the content of their books. I have a very difficult time separating myself from my work enough to be able to discuss it intelligently. It feels a little like being asked to describe my neuroses or my fantasies or my fear of bridges (yes, bridges).

But I'll take a crack at it.

My new book, Boys and Girls Like You and Me, is a short story collection. I feel kind of strange referring to this book as "new" because many of the stories were written and published years ago &mdash the oldest story in the collection was written when I was 22. Because most of the stories were written long before I realized they would one day have to live together inside a book, it wasn't until the collection sold that I began to think about how they related to each other or worked together to create a larger arc. The consensus from the world seems to be that the book is about women and girls, about their choices (mostly poor), and their desires (mostly dangerous), and their decisions (mostly ruthless).

Most of the stories do focus on women and girls, but now that I can look at the book as a whole, rather than just an assembly of pieces written over a period of time that represents approximately one-third of my life, I have a slightly different sense of how they all add up. To me, what almost all my characters have in common — more than gender or poor decision-making skills — is a longing for intimacy. I think that what connects these stories to each other is the characters' desire to connect and the (often misguided) choices they make to achieve such connection, connection which almost always comes to them in unexpected ways from unexpected sources and is, across the board, fleeting. Because intimacy, true intimacy, is — I think — almost always fleeting. Which is what makes it so valuable, so desirable, so worth the risk and the pain and the wreckage.


Le Chat

Yesterday I was in L.A., where I have not been since I was nine. The weather was beautiful, the air smelled like flowers, and I was staying at the hotel from Pretty Woman. I was really hoping that Julia would be in the lobby when I got there, but no such luck. She's probably busy with the twins.

So today is the final blog, and even with all my initial apprehension, I must admit that I'm going to miss it. It's given me something to do on airplanes, which is always welcome. Tomorrow, I will be back in Missoula. It will be nice to pet my cats and sleep in my own bed again. Also nice to have a little time to write.

This has not been the most productive year of my life as far as the writing goes. I've worked on some short stories, which is great. And I've thought about a second novel. I've thought about a few second novels. I've saved a document on my desktop: Novel2. I've even ...


Childhood Trauma: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Because my novel is told from the point of view of a twelve-year-old girl, I've been getting a lot of questions lately about my own adolescence. And while I'd truly prefer to not think much about it now that it's over, I suppose it can't hurt to make a few comparisons. The truth is that very little of the book is autobiographical. I didn't grow up on a ranch, didn't have sister, didn't have a mother who never got out of bed.

Still, I had my dramas. Maybe I didn't have it as hard as my narrator, Alice. At twelve, she is dealing with poverty, isolation, abandonment, guilt. At twelve, I was dealing with gym class. Not exactly the stuff of great literature, I know. But trust me when I say that it was deeply unpleasant.

It has been the bane of my entire existence that I am not athletic. If it involves strength, speed, coordination, or throwing/kicking/hitting-with-a-stick some type of ball, I can't do it. You should try harder, you might be thinking. Well I have. And trust me, ...


Why Margaret Atwood is So Much Cooler Than Magic Stones

Last night, I read in Denver at the Tattered Cover Bookstore, one of my favorite bookstores in the world (along with Powell's, of course). I went to college in Fort Collins, and my friends and I would often drive to Denver to attend readings at the Tattered Cover. It was sort of surreal to be back as an author.

The last time I was in the store was about six years ago. My college roommate and I drove down to hear Margaret Atwood read. On the way, we stopped to have our fortunes told at Psychic Readings by Kay, which was next to the highway in a little house under a big neon sign. We told each other that we weren't going to take it seriously. We were mostly curious what sort of readings one could get by the side of the highway. We thought it would be a kick.

My roommate went in first and came back to report that it had been a big success: Psychic Kay had told her that she was going to fall in love and travel the world ...


Missoula in the Springtime

Spring has sprung in my hometown of Missoula, Montana. Or, at least, that was the case when I left yesterday. Given the schizophrenic tendencies of the current climate, Missoula might be buried in snow by now. But at the time I boarded the plane, it was definitely spring. This pleases me to no end.

I moved to Missoula about six years ago (grad school), moved away three years later (job), then moved back (boyfriend). Missoula is a healthy, apple-cheeked kind of town. Everyone bikes and hikes and skis and camps. I don't do any of these things, and sometimes I look around at all the polar fleece and North Face and I feel sort of inadequate. I keep waiting to catch the bug, like any day now I'll walk outside, look up at the mountains, and feel some deep, primal need to scale to the top, then shoot down on skis.

So far: no.

The only real excitement I've had with nature since I've moved here was when I saw a mountain lion skulking across my neighbor's back yard. ...


Myself, But Interesting

The first thing I think you should know about me is that I have a cold. It isn't a god-awful cold — on a scale of 1 to 10, I would rank it at about 6.5. But it's still terribly annoying. I am beginning a week of getting on airplanes and giving readings and talking to strangers about my book, a week in which I need to be bright and witty and engaging, to sound good on the radio and look okay on television. At the moment, I'm a little worried: My nose and eyes are red and runny. When I talk, I'm so congested that I sound like a man. Let the book tour begin!

My point: I'm looking for remedies, those miracle cures you learned about from your great-grandmother who brought them over from the Old Country. Over-the-counter cocktails, herbal teas, concoctions made with roots and cider vinegar — lay 'em on me. I'll try anything.

Now that I've gotten that self-serving tangent out of the way, I should probably also mention that this is my first experience with the exciting world of blogging. ...


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