At the first official reading, at Brazos (one of the great independent bookstores, in Houston), during the Q&A, I was asked why I used the name "Inez" instead of my partner's real name, when it's pretty obvious who Inez is. My answer was that when I tried writing using her real name, I found I couldn't. The pseudonym made it clear to me that I was creating a character, that it is impossible to place ourselves, or our loved ones, in the memoir itself. This also freed me. Its not that I invented anything "Inez" did, but, for the purpose of the memoir, she was necessary only insofar as she moved the story along. In real life, of course, "Inez" exists in many, many dimensions. The person who asked this question had a follow-up question, which was: what does Inez think about being in the memoir. My answer was that one of the projects of the memoir, and maybe of memoir itself, is to track how slippery our thoughts are, how they shift and readjust, how, if we're lucky, we barely hold on as we follow the trail. This was my experience as the writer, so for me to speculate on what Inez thinks, or is thinking, or thought, would be a supreme arrogance. Ask her. Then ask her again a few minutes later.
Tim Knox took photos of me a couple weeks ago, for the Guardian (I think), many of them on a freezing cold Brooklyn rooftop at sunset, the skyline of Manhattan in the background. When I asked if I could see some of the shots, all he sent me was this:
Tomorrow I fly into Boston.
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Nick Flynn is the author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, winner of the PEN/Martha Albrand Award, and The Ticking Is the Bomb. He divides his time between Houston, Texas, and Brooklyn, New York.
Books mentioned in this post
Nick Flynn is the author of The Ticking Is the Bomb: A Memoir