A very cool interview about my forthcoming chapbook THE MISSING GIRL is up at William Woolfit's site SPEAKING OF MARVELS. He asks good questions. He also searched out links on his own to include them. (The new Caite Dolan-Leach essay on missing girls is particularly thought-provoking and I'm pleased that he linked it). Here's an excerpt, but I hope you'll check out the full interview. Among other things, I recommend recent chapbooks by writers that I love.
What obsessions led you to write your chapbook?
Joyce Carol Oates said somewhere, “When people say there is too much violence in Oates, what they are saying is there is too much reality in life.” For a long while I was haunted by stories of abused or murdered or missing girls. The newspapers are filled with their stories, often consigned to the back pages, seemingly unremarked. Caite Dolan-Leach just published a fascinating article in Lit Hub (“Why Do We Love to Read About Missing Girls?” June 29, 2017) suggesting that missing girls have become a central cultural obsession, symptomatic of the systematic disempowerment and erasure of women in American society today, and reflected in many recent novels (including her own novel Dead Letters). It’s a disturbing reality that continues to obsess me.
What’s the oldest section in your chapbook? Or can you name one piece that catalyzed or inspired the rest of the chapbook?
The stories were written over a period of four years, when I published many other flash on very different subjects, and I didn’t think of them as a group until later. They’re not arranged chronologically by composition, but in fact the oldest piece is also the first story in the collection, “The Missing Girl,” published in Vestal Review in 2013, and the last piece in the collection is also the newest: “Nola,” published in Monkeybicycle last year. I was tremendously encouraged when J.T. Hill and the editors at Monkeybicycle nominated “Nola” for Best of the Net and a Pushcart, and when Ross McMeekin included “Nola” in his “Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week” series on the Ploughshares blog. “Nola” became a kind of magnet that attracted the earlier stories like iron filings. The missing girl was an absent center, the way the dead woman that you can’t see in his painting becomes an absent but palpable center for the artist in Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio. She’s the “dark spot you might not notice,” the painter says, “the beginning of everything.” I was tempted to reword my epigraph from Anderson to make that clearer, but only Edgar Allan Poe (and maybe David Shields) can get away with altering and making up epigraphs.
read the full interview here