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Sasha Fletcher is the author of when all our days are numbered marching bands will fill the streets & we will not hear them because we will be upstairs in the clouds, published in 2010 by Mud Luscious Press. Fletcher is the Assistant Editor at Gigantic and is currently in Columbia’s MFA program.
Recently he and I chatted over email.
Q. The cover of when all our days are numbered labels the book a “novel(la),” but it often reads more like linked poetry. It’s not a traditional narrative with traditional story progression, but there are recurring themes, and there is a definite build toward a conclusion. How would you classify this work? Are we reading abstract fiction, narrative poetry, or what? Or do you find classification irrelevant?
A. I view the book as one piece of writing rather than a series of linked parts. It flows from one page, one image or thought, to the next and then back in on itself. The book does tell a bit of a story, at least about a relationship and about dealing with the idea of getting carried away and the necessity in life for some sort of grounding.
In terms of classifying the book, the publisher is calling all of... more »more »
A recent article in the Guardian’s Book Blog (I’m addicted) debated whether it’s necessary to date a reader if you yourself are a reader. The writer, clearly also the reader in this scenario, says that reading is not only an intensely personal ritual, but also an incredibly social one. Think about the success of book clubs–most people find they can relate better to what they’ve read if they discuss it with others. This is something I have definitely found true, though my own book club is still in its fledgling days. I love talking about books and writers, getting recommendations and different perspectives from fellow readers. I am incredibly lucky in that I work in a field (publishing) chock full of voracious readers, and many of my friends are also readers (comes with the territory when you attend a graduate program in writing and publishing).
Okay, so if you love to read, you can chat about books around the water cooler, or around a few bottles of wine at a book club. Isn’t that outlet enough? Do we really need our romantic partners to love reading as well?
According to the Guardian, no. The writer says that his wife of eight years has read... more »more »
The NY Tyrant Guide to Not Being a Horrible Writer in the Year 2010 is Vice’s uncharitably snarky take on slush pile cliches, and it proves that I, too have tortured readers of slush piles the world over. Here are a few of my favorites from the list:
“When you think you are about to write something really good, go to the grocery.” This is true of my own fiction writing. If I think a sentence is great, that’s generally because it’s full of purple-prose or writerly diction that calls attention to itself and takes the reader out of the story. A good rule of thumb is to cut it in the second draft.
“Oh sweet, you went to that museum alone one day and had a tuna sandwich in the cafe? You’re killing me, please.” I’ve written this story. Twice. And it even got submitted out. <dies of shame>.
“Write less dialogue, unless you are really good at it, which I guarantee you aren’t.” Yeah, I suck at dialogue. Now I mostly try not to write it. Reported dialogue and narrative summary are my friends.
“Please, God, no characters who are musicians. There is nothing worse than trying to describe music, or how someone... more »more »