“So in the novel I’m driving at the idea that justice and freedom don’t wait. It’s not, well, you need to suffer just a little more and then things are going to be peachy in fifty years. No. That was the rationale for colonialism and you can see the wreckage that left behind.”
“It’s short, but once I hit on it, this little observation seemed to encapsulate everything I’d written before or since: ‘In my writing, I wrestle with questions of gender, power, identity, complicity, and harm. Even so, I still find the world beautiful.'”
“I was feeling quite self-satisfied when I showed [Dean Bakopoulos, friend and novelist] the passage that described Carolyn. I showed it to him because I thought, ‘Oh, he’s going to get a kick out of this; it’s pretty funny.’ And he comes back with, ‘Yes, it is funny, you’re right. But you can’t do this to her. She needs to have some dimension.’ I get those reminders in real life, too.” Mindy Misener chats with Michael Perry about his new novel, The Jesus Cow, and his transition from non-fiction to fiction.
“Eventually, I made peace with the artifice: all of it is manipulated, all of it designed to form a cohesive whole. And then I really began to figure out potential connections between characters and events.”
“It was tempting to allow those two characters in ‘Body Asking Shadow’ to find a way to communicate with actual language in the final scene, but in the end it felt both truer to the story and more interesting to let them communicate only through unlikely means, and to have that nonetheless suffice.”
“Then you sit back one day and think, ‘Who really will care about this? It’s just another story that’s been told so many times, just in different ways.’ Yet there is that illogical reasoning, or rather lack thereof, that makes you continue.”
Aida Zilelian on discovering that her novel The Legacy of Lost Things was about longing: “You know when you dream something, and you’re like, ‘I had such a weird dream,’ and as you’re saying the words out loud, you realize what the dream was actually about. When I read through the final version, I realized it then.”