Found an early “murder” story before I landed on the style I used throughout the series. Some of the elements are there: reaching beyond the scope of the murder, playing with no resolution. But this early version is more specific in details and names the character.
Birdie was driving along in an old car that she loved, tuning the radio station. One doesn’t actually tune a radio station anymore, but you know what I mean. She had just landed a job as an office manager at a health clinic and she felt really great about that. As she was tuning the station she hit someone who had started to cross at an intersection she did not stop at. Birdie didn’t get out of the car but instead kept on driving, her eyes and mind in shock, her heart angry at the way a day can flip so quickly. When she got home she fixed herself a drink. She waited for a knock on the door. None came. She went to work the next day and looked at every patient that came in. She was looking for signs, even though it wasn’t that kind of health clinic. Nevertheless she looked for signs everywhere: in the vials of blood, in the boxes of plastic gloves, in the tin boxes outside the door meant for laboratories. But there weren’t any signs and eventually she met a man, got married, had children, and got into arguments with them about when they were allowed to get their driver’s license.
On what am I currently working?
I am between writing projects right now. I just finished a short flash series about murder and a short story collection. I’ll start writing my novel in August. It’ll take place in dystopian NYC where bureaucracy has comedic reach. The main character is looking for her brother. There are no dogs left. All the art is warehoused in a secret location. Something like that.
How does your work differ from others’ works in the same genre?
The question of feminism’s importance is settled for me (it is important) so I like to start a little farther along in the conversation. I’ve explored the ideas of self and free will and brains. I got a voice that comes from I don’t know where. Maybe from my childhood of watching stand-up comedy and telling jokes. Maybe from feeling like the truths I told sounded like lies and the lies I told sounded like lies.
Why do you write what you do?
For a long time I wrote about toxic friendships and platonic love. I started writing about murder to get away from the usual stories I told. Right after I finished my murder collection, a friend who was a strong subconscious motivation for writing the same friendship story over and over was murdered. I don’t feel the same compulsion to write about toxic friendship anymore. I don’t know if I can write about murder ever again. I don’t know if I will ever be able to stop.
How does your writing process work?
I spend two to five days writing a story then spend two to five days revising it.
Thanks to Lauren Spohrer for tagging me on this blog tour. Next week Hannah Sloane, www.hannahsloanewrites.com, will be participating. Please visit her and the other writers who’ve come before, whose bios are below.
Jane Liddle grew up in Newburgh, New York, and now lives in Brooklyn. Her stories have appeared in Two Serious Ladies, Cactus Heart, Whiskey Paper, Specter magazine, Luna Luna Magazine, and elsewhere. You can find her on Twitter @janeriddle or at liddlejane.tumblr.com.
Lauren Spohrer is a writer and public radio producer living in Durham, N.C. Her fiction has been published in NOON, Unsaid, the Mississippi Review, GIGANTIC, and some other places. She’s the founder and editor of Two Serious Ladies, an irregular online magazine to promote writing and art by women. She also makes a true-crime podcast called Criminal.
Annie DeWitt’s writing has appeared in NOON, Guernica, BOMBlog, Esquire’s Napkin Fiction Project, The Believer Logger, art+culture, Everyday Genius, The Faster Times, elimae, and Dossier Magazine, amongst others, and is forthcoming in Tin House and the American Reader edited by Ben Marcus. Her work was recently anthologized in Short: An International Anthology of 500 Years of Short-Short Stories, Prose Poems, Brief Essays, and Other Short Prose Forms, edited by Alan Ziegler. Ann holds a B.A. from Brown University and an M.F.A. in Fiction from Columbia School of the Arts. She was a Founding Editor of Gigantic: A Magazine of Short Prose and Art in 2008. She currently teaches in the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at Columbia University. For more of her work, please follow her column at The Believer: http://logger.believermag.com/tagged/various-paradigms
Rae Bryant: Rae Bryant is the author of the short story collection The Infinite State of Imaginary Morals (Patasola Press 2011). Her stories, essays, and poetry have appeared in print and online at The Paris Review, The Missouri Review, McSweeney’s, Huffington Post, New World Writing, Gargoyle Magazine, and elsewhere. Her intermedia has exhibited in NYC, D.C., Baltimore, and Florence Italy. She has won prizes and fellowships from Johns Hopkins, Aspen Writers Foundation, VCCA, and Whidbey Writers and has been nominated for the PEN/HEMINGWAY, Pen Emerging Writers, the &Now Award, and multiple times for the Pushcart Award.
Rosebud Ben-Oni is the author of SOLECISM (Virtual Artists’ Collective, 2013) and a CantoMundo Fellow. Her work appears in The American Poetry Review, Bayou, Arts & Letters, Puerto del Sol, The Feminist Wire, Dialogist, B O D Y, Lana Turner Journal, Slice Magazine, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and elsewhere. In 2010, her story “ A Way out of the Colonia” won the Editor’s Prize in Camera Obscura. Please read more about Rosebud at rosebudbenoni.com She does good things at VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.
Tessa Fontaine graduated from the University of Alabama’s MFA program and joined a traveling circus sideshow. As an instructor for Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project, she taught creative writing and performance in prisons across Alabama. More of her work can be found in Creative Nonfiction, The Normal School, Seneca Review, DIAGRAM, Pank, and more. Stay tuned for more updates from the road
Luke B. Goebel is the author of Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours (FC2 2014). He won the Ronald Sukenick Prize for innovative fiction for the above-mentioned novel. He is a fiction writer and an Assistant Professor. His fictions are forthcoming or have appeared in The American Reader, PANK, The New York Tyrant, Unsaid, Elimae, The Collagist, Greenmountains Review, Gigantic, and elsewhere. He won the Joan Scott Memorial Fiction Award in 2012.