Q & A

A Chat with Afsheen Farhadi, Author of “Green”

27 April 2015

green image

Recently, I talked with Afsheen Farhadi, whose hilariously dark “Green” can be found in our Fall 2014 issue (an excerpt can be found here as well). Here, he reveals his own writing process, some of his favorite recent books, and even teases who he might cast if “Green” were to be made into a movie. Afsheen has also recently completed a new novel, “Voices of Oblivion.”

Read the entire Q & A.

[SM]



“Green screen”
Sam Greenhalgh, used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Q & A

More Than Just Another “Kahlua & Breast Milk Story”

20 May 2012

brake drumRecently, assistant editor David Rawson posed a number of questions to Benjamin Reed about his story, “Surprise Me With Something Familiar” (Spring 2007).  Benjamin responded with generosity, insight, and hilarity – way more than we could have hoped for.

How does this story fit into the rest of your work?

I remember it was one of the first couple times I thought I’d written a “polished” piece. But back then I didn’t read a lot of literary journals and I had a really naive perspective of contemporary fiction. I think I judged all my manuscripts in terms of whether or not they might get accepted by Glimmer Train.

How did this story come to be?

I was a bartender for a long time, in a small, dark lounge on Red River, what used to be the very edge of downtown Austin. It was so dark, all the light was from a few dozen red venetian candles and the glowing ends of people’s cigarettes. We poured beers practically by feel, and mixed drinks by sound and texture. We hated making white Russians. Cream–really it’s half-and-half–froths when you shake it. It expands. It gets everywhere, all over your hands, the bar, the bar mats, your shirt, the upside-down glass you use to cap your shaker tin–everywhere. And after you make a white Russian you have to rinse everything extra, which clouds the blue water of the sanitatizing sink. And usually the people ordering them were amateurs, posers, or young men who over-identified with The Big Lebowski.

As such, the manager was constantly “forgetting” to buy half-and-half. So we were always being prompted to suggest a replacement. Usually this would be Bailey’s. One night, we started joking about making white Russians with breast milk. One of our bartenders had just come back to work after having a baby, and was always talking about lactating and pumping. I asked her if she would be up for a donation. Just a few ounces. She said she’d think about it. When I asked again later she replied with a decisive “No.” I assume she’d mentioned it to her husband, and he clearly did not think it was as amusing an idea as I did.

 

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Origin Stories

Thinking About “Think of Me and I’ll Know”

15 March 2012

Of this story, appearing in the Fall 2011 issue, writer Anthony Varallo recalls:

I wrote “Think of Me and I’ll Know” during a time when I was writing a lot of short-short fiction, for reasons that still aren’t clear to me now, but likely have something to do with avoiding the novel I was working on at the time.  The working title for the story was “All Quiet on the Western Front” (great title, but already taken, alas) and the story ran about five pages or so, a story about a guy who gets into an argument with his wife, goes to the library, recalls reading All Quiet on the Western Front in high school, goes home, and finds his son’s lost cat.  The end.

I thought it was an okay story, but, at five pages, it both seemed too long and too short.

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Origin Stories

If “Turnagain” was a bird, what kind would it be?

25 February 2012

Jamey Bradbury responds to a few question about her story, which appears in the Fall 2011 issue.

How did this story come to be? When is its birthday?

This story’s honorary birthday is Thanksgiving because the idea for the story was born out of a real-life trip I took to Trout Lake (on the Resurrection Pass Trail in Alaska) over Thanksgiving Day weekend: Four days, a weekend-high temperature of -5 degrees, and an incident during which my co-campers nearly burned down our public-use cabin.

If this story was a bird, what kind would it be?

The state bird of Alaska: the ptarmigan. (A male ptarmigan’s mating call sounds like he’s laughing at a bad joke.)

What was the last thing you read that took the top of your head off?

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. I did not expect to be swept away by this book, but it completely transported me.

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to your younger writing self?

There’s never going to be enough time, so steal every minute you can.

 

Read an excerpt.

Q & A

Kellie Wells says, “Why bleed for bupkis?”

25 February 2012

"Lego House"It’s hard to disagree with that.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that this comment was yanked from the middle of  a detailed answer to a question regarding the writer’s compulsions that appeared in the fall 2011 feature, “Ten Questions for Kellie Wells.”

While we’re unsure how Kellie feels about Lego (a topic for another interview perhaps), she does have quite a bit to say about dogs, motifs, omniscience, and sentences.

Read the entire Q & A.

[VV]



“Innovative Design”
Peter Trimming, used under CC BY-SA 2.0