A Colloquy With Jess Stoner
I wanted to share that my last letter felt so straightforward; maybe even a little impersonal. I’m finding less time to write to you while revising my dissertation. As I was opening my email, I realized I hadn’t heard from you in a day [This letter writing is such a codependent activity]. It’s an anachronistic feeling: I am subordinate to my email for your response.
I did want to say that my address of the fictive speaker as you makes it easier for me to discuss the collection, but it also felt natural to address you in that manner. As I mentioned earlier, I felt a strong connection to the format of the book, there was a similar connection to the speaker of the book. I want to know her and it makes me want to know you, the origin of that voice. I think it’s a marvelous thing that allows the reader to move beyond the page and conscientiously blur the line between speaker and writer.
The postmodern ethos tends to dissolve the boundary between writer and speaker, but it’s very important to distinguish the literary persona and the personas we, as writers, create. It becomes problematic when writers present a literary work that is an extension of their own personality. [While it’s important to rely on our own sense of being, if this was the only necessity for craft, then we’d all simply read each other’s blogs].
I should wrap this letter up. I don’t have a memorable closing, so I’ll simply say: I look forward to hearing from you.
I feel your deadline pain. I got up at 1:30am to work on an essay that was due yesterday, went straight to work at 9am, and it’s now 6:45pm. The only thing holding me up is that I’m holding a Modelo.
I think I responded to the “you” comments in the last letter a tiny bit defensively: there are hugely personal parts of this book. Not huge things, but certain details on certain pages speak to wounds that festered for so long—I feel the need to distance myself from the narrator even more, because we were, for so long, not distant enough for my comfort.
One of my favorite dissolved boundaries between writer and speaker is perfectly demonstrated in Raymond Federman’s Double or Nothing. That book. It did something for me so—–I cannot begin to articulate its import—to me and how I think and how I wonder about the work words can do.
I am several Lone Stars past the Modelo I was holding when I started this.
I want to ask you questions about you. I don’t want this to be one sided. I hope you are surviving your dissertation. I think I splintered during mine: my hair fell out and I listened to two pop songs on repeat for the last few weeks.
I wish your book came in the mail yesterday.