“And I think that’s part of why I tried to write this essay, is because to write sentences from my head now, that are just all meaning, and little-to-no inventive language, feels so terrifying and clumsy. I wanted to make sure I could still write something engaging that didn’t require me to string together surprising words. In that mode of writing, where I was just always trying to surprise myself with the words I’d pull together, I feel there is a huge amount of chance." At Hobart, Amelia Gray and Jac Jemc talk about luck, drinks, and more.
Though a rough description of the novel might make it sound like a familiar plot wrapped in kitchen-sink details — a middle-aged man wanders a small Ohio town, traumatized after the sudden and mysterious death of his wife — Gray’s approach is anything but. Characters hallucinate, speak entirely in stylized cliches, and occasionally slip out of their identities. It’s an approach that has some antecedents in a particular corner of slipstream cinema, but fused with a surreal literary sensibility recalling Joy Williams or Harry Mathews. (via Surreal Doppelgängers, Sublimated Anxiety, and Ominous Missives: On Amelia Gray’s “Threats” | Vol. 1 Brooklyn)
“What I usually do is sit down and say, now I’m going to write a piece that is as much of the piece as I can stand it to be, if that makes sense. I mean, if I’m writing a story about a woman who crawls into a ventilation duct out of a sexual fetish, then I want that to be the most complete story of that woman that I can make it. And so usually when I sit down, I’m like, okay, this is going to be a novel-length work. That’s my goal, even if 95% of the time it ends up not being that long. I sit and want to give it as much space as I can. So the thing I’m working on right now did start as a novel and was about twice as long. I cut it significantly to where it is now, and I’m going to cut some more. I think it’ll end up being a healthy-sized short story.”