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Original Essays | February 24, 2014 0 comments
When I was nine, my mother acquired a charm bracelet with five charms, one for each of her children: one resonant symbol that supposedly summed up... Continue »
Kate BlackwellDescribe your latest project.
My first book of fiction, a collection of twelve stories titled You Won't Remember This, was published in June by Southern Methodist University Press.
Almost all my stories emerge from something I see, or hear, or remember, that makes me ask: How can that be? How can they do that? Then I start groping in the dark for a story that answers the question. I suppose, more generally, I write to build worlds out of memory.
Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
I also visited the hospital in Rouen where Flaubert lived as a boy (his father directed the hospital), saw the house on the river he shared with his mother while writing Madame Bovary, and finally, lost in the flat Normandy countryside, the village of Rhy, where a doctor's wife killed herself after conducting an adulterous affair. It's all there the house with the narrow garden running down to a little stream, the apothecary shop next door, the church.
The pilgrimage that touched me most was to the town where Willa Cather grew up, Red Cloud, Nebraska, where the only restaurant was full of characters I'd met in her books, heartily eating dinner, calm, robust women, quiet children, men wearing their hats, and all around, fields and farmland just as she described them in O Pioneers! and My Antonia.
What is your vision of the ideal life?
Share a favorite sentence from another writer.
Who are your favorite characters in history and have they influenced your writing?
What is your idea of absolute happiness?
What fictional character would you like to date, and why?
Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.
Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse
Willa Cather, The Professor's House
Penelope Fitzgerald, The Blue Flower
Mavis Gallant, Varieties of Exile (stories)
Christina Stead, The Man Who Loved Children