A Colloquy With Jess Stoner
I wish we had more time for this, but this will be my last letter to you. I’d like to ask some broad, very general questions. What were your expectations for this book in terms of reception or, perhaps, its contribution to fiction? And finally, what’s next for you?
As for asking me questions, maybe we can do that over an audio recording? But I’m curious about what you want to know…
P.S. I’ve had a great time writing to you. Let’s meet and have a drink sometime (I’m a fan of Modelo).
Yes to the audio. Should I save the things I might ask you until then, to not pin them down in text? In some Venn diagram somewhere, I think your book, Next Extinct Mammal, and mine might meet, or at least notice each other from across the street.
As for the expected reception of the book: I’m not sure. I felt like it was the first time I let myself feel when I wrote. The first time I didn’t purposefully make distance. Between myself and the reader, between myself and feeling something huge. I realize that this translates into a book that behaves differently or is different or asks a reader to do different things. I mean, it seems really gauche to say: I hope people don’t hate it. Like I’m supposed to be more self-confident than that. I think mostly I hoped that the people who gave into it would have an experience, would feel something deeply. This sounds lame and generic. Even if it’s true.
I’m in the middle of trying to finish new things while I work full-time at my job with Badgerdog, a literary arts non-profit here in Austin. I better save some things for the audiobook of our correspondence.
I’m oddly nervous to hear your voice?