Today we are happy to share news about past contributor Terese Svoboda. Terese’s new short story collection Great American Desert is to be published by Mad Creek books. The collection has found its home in the new genre of ‘cli-fi’, or climate fiction, as it explores the relationship between man and earth from the past to distant future.
The collection launches at the Corner Bookstore on March 26th at 6 pm in New York City. Terese will be in Phoenix to teach a workshop at Pipers Writing Studio on April 20th.
S[r]’s author interview with Terese can be found here, and her short story “Madonna in the Terminal” can be found here.
This past summer, the Review’s Student Editor-in-Chief Jackie Aguilar interviewed Laura Esther Wolfson, author of For Single Mothers Working as Train Conductors, released this past June with University of Iowa Press.
Did the essay “For Single Mothers Working as Train Conductors” inspire you to write the essay collection of the same title? If not, what inspired this collection?
There was no single inspiration for the entire book; each section had its own inspiration. I remember the triggering moments for only a few of them. I wrote the sections sporadically over the course of a decade and half, and one by one, they appeared in magazines. The title essay, written around 2013, was among the last to be written and individually published.
As those years of writing were passing, I did not conceive of the parts as a collection. Only very late, when almost all of them were written, did it occur to me that they belonged together.
What was the most difficult part in the process of creating For Single Mothers Working as Train Conductors [the book, not the essay]?
It was difficult to write regularly while working full-time, caring for infirm, elderly parents, managing a degenerative illness of my own, and sharing a studio apartment with another person plus two cats, the latter, bellies bulging, stretched out across my keyboard or patting my pen with their chocolate point paws. It was difficult to pursue the essay form (or whatever it is that I write; readers, including reviewers, do not agree), given the ubiquity and primacy of the novel and unceasing reminders from gatekeepers that collections don’t sell. Finally, it was difficult to resist the seductions of social life and the Internet. I failed again and again, at all of these things.
Writing is at times a healing journey for writers. Was writing these essays a healing journey for you? What did it give you?
I approach writing as a process, with little thought to outcome. It’s true that each section is about some sort of loss, and that I fashioned each loss into a written creation, so that the writing resulted in certain gains. Writing these pieces did make me into a better writer, and publication of the book did make me into an author, serendipitously providing me with a readymade new identity just as my health worsened to the point where I could no longer continue at my day job.
However—and what follows here is a catalogue of many of the topics the book covers—(the) writing and authorship did not save any marriages, remedy childlessness, restore health, or make up lost income. In fact, writing and publishing the book heightened my awareness of those lacks and losses.
None of this is a disappointment, though; I did not write in order to heal.
Your work as a Russian linguist looms large in many sections of For Single Mothers Working as Train Conductors. Can you expand on how your knowledge of other languages and work as a translator/interpreter has affected your writing and transformed your view of writing?
An awareness of the world as a large and multifarious place led me to languages, and languages then increased my awareness of the size and diversity of the world. Between my awareness of the world and my interest in literature, history and international affairs there exists a similar circularity.
We translators and interpreters often fret that our work is not ‘substantive,’ i.e., that our language expertise is in service to the thoughts, information and knowledge of others. However, deep and sustained language study and language work (as a translator, interpreter, transcriber or terminologist) lead inevitably to a grasp of whatever topic is taken up in the documents or meetings assigned (for example, international humanitarian law, nuclear physics, renewable energy, etc.), as well as a general familiarity with geography, geopolitics, history, international affairs, foreign cultures, language acquisition and immigrant adaptation, both linguistic and cultural. It is these latter topics especially that find their way into my work.
Knowledge of other languages gives me a varied palette, providing access to more—of everything: more worldviews, literatures, stories, current events, histories, jokes, folktales, proverbs, syntaxes, grammars, etymologies, words, and most of all, more meanings, and more meaning.
As a translator-turned-writer, I am of course obsessed with accuracy and style; le mot juste is crucial. For the translator, this means fidelity to the source document. For the writer, it means fidelity to the thing depicted, whether that is something that exists in the world outside the creator’s mind and soul, or within.
What writing project are you currently working on? Does it have a connection to your essay collection “For Single Mothers Working as Train Conductors”?
I’m now at work on a long autofiction about love, infidelity and chronic illness, with embedded nuggets of flash literary criticism and flash international affairs punditry. Super-Pricey Royal Blue French Lace Bra is the working title. The voice is recognizably mine, and it partakes of many of the same obsessions present in For Single Mothers Working as Train Conductors. However, it is an entirely separate work.
Today we are happy to share news about past contributor Matt Bell. Matt’s short story, “Fur, Bark, Feather, Leaf, Faun,” is upcoming in Conjunctions: 71, A Cabinet of Curiosity. About the issue, the description reads: “Curiosity in all its guises is the wellspring of revelation. It is a prime mover behind our deeds, good or evil, simple or complicated. While the thirty-one writers gathered here individually explore many of the ways in which curiosity drives and defines us, together they propose that the realms of curiosity are, finally, inexhaustible.”
Conjunctions: 71, A Cabinet of Curiosity is available for preorder through the Bard College here. Shipping will begin by the end of November, 2018.
Our interview with Matt can be read in Issue 18 of Superstition Review.
Today we are excited to announce that our former art editor, Sean O’Day, was recently interviewed by Voyage Phoenix. In the interview, Sean, who goes by the artist name Zanereti, walks us through his unique story and talks about the challenges artists face today. Read the interview here.
Today we are pleased to feature artist Jenny Day as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this short interview, Day talks about her five art pieces from her “Nearly Somewhere” series and “Forgotten Topographies” series featured in Issue 19. Day expands on her own artistic background, influences, goals, and the places and memories that inspired her art pieces.
We are happy to announce that past contributor Kirsten Voris from Issue 18 will be a speaker for the 2018 HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers! Voris will be speaking on the “Writing Life after 40” panel. She was also interviewed for HippoCamp’s Conference “speaker preview” blog post series. Congratulations Kirsten!
We are proud to announce that past Superstition Review intern Jessica Marie Fletcher and current intern Jacqueline Aguilar were interviewed for ASU’s New Innovation Happens Podcast Series. The podcast is centered on their work with Iron City Magazine, the innovation the magazine brings, and the positive impact of prison education. Congratulations to the two! Podcast: https://universitydesign.asu.edu/podcast/iron-city-magazine
Today we are pleased to feature Jonathan Duckworth as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this interview by fellow writer Jaimie Eubanks, Jonathan discusses his story, “On Clear Days I Can See Your Aura.”
Jonathan tells us how he decides what a story is about and how his spontaneous writing process is guided mostly by what a story calls for. Though his approach to writing is without “method,” Jonathan finds that a short story assembles itself. He concludes the podcast by discussing the differences between writing a novel and a short story.
Today we are pleased to feature author Jack Garrett as our Authors Talk series contributor. Jack attempts to understand his story “What Are You Doing?” by self-interview.
From the punctuation in the story’s title to the length of the lines to Jack’s singing voice, no part of the story is left unquestioned. What inspired Jack to create the story’s characters? Does Jack enjoy living alone? How do we know when we know something or someone? Such breadth makes this Authors Talk an interesting change of pace and a unique look into Jack’s work.
You can read and listen to Jack Garrett’s story, “What Are You Doing?” in Superstition Review, Issue 19.