The Internet, Female Narrative, and the Etch-a-Sketch of the Brain: An Interview with Emily Gould by Maria Paduano
You moved from writing memoir to fiction. What was that transition process for you, and what qualities of your memoir writing remains in your fiction writing?
EG: I stopped writing in the first person for a couple of years after And The Heart Says Whatever came out. Both the critical reaction [to first-person writing] and also the reaction from the people I love was really negative. Some of it was positive, but the negative stuff always stands out a lot more, especially with the way it affected my family. I felt sort of crippled. Even when I tried to write in the same mode, I didn’t have access to the same uninhibited way that I had been able to write before.
So I had to try something different, because otherwise I wasn’t going to be able to write anything. There was a solid year of me trying different things and kind of failing at all of them. It was kind of good in retrospect. It gave me perspective on the purpose of this kind of work. That’s when I started working on Emily Books—just because I had to do something and it had to be different. I also started writing in the third person as an exercise, and to trick myself. I was still writing about myself, but I was writing in third person and pretending like I wasn’t. That got very boring and kind of unsustainable, at which point I started to actually write fiction. It got to the point where I had a short draft and a really crappy draft. I decided to show it to Keith, my now husband, and I said, “I don’t want to know anything except if I should keep going with it.” He was like, “you should keep going.” He might have said that no matter what, but I did keep going, and it took me about four years.
Jungleland by Jessica Griscti
Kerry Dahlen sits behind the wheel of her older brother Rick’s Buick. The car is wide and long and stretched out in front of her like a boat, stuffed starboard to port with her brother’s friends. The windows are down and Kerry’s hair whips into a frenzy around her face. The radio is blaring. They’re cruising on the Long Island Expressway behind Rick, who’s at the helm of the family station wagon, switching lanes like a true born-and-bred New Jersey driver. They’re on their way to a Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert, and they will not be late.
Quarantine by Lea Ceasrine
“You lying, no good pendejo” she screeches from the streets,
talking to her boyfriend, f*** buddy, papi chulo,
the categories seem harmonious in the night,
when tequila and love collide.
His replies disintegrate amongst
the honking, the sporadic sirens,
and I assume they’ve made peace.
I press my coral cheek against the window,
fidget with the blinds,
and wait for the conversation to proceed.
Somebody talk to me- I’m six floors high- losing my mind
“Baby, please” pendejo pleads, clenching his Mickey D’s.
She, I, we, refuse to be your happy meal anymore.
Dionne returns home with McNuggets,
harp-shaped lips humming “I’m not lovin’ it”
she hates grease, but loves the musical.
“Why are you awake baby girl?”
Shh, the street is speaking to me
Melodious and congruous with Selena
Here in my room dreaming about you and me
She rocks me to sleep on the anniversary of her death,
as I surrender eavesdropping to the stars and the streets.
Finders Keepers by Kathryn Kolouch
This story is about giving blood. I gave blood three times. The first time, I gave whole blood, which means you get fifty advantage points that you can trade for certain goods. Most goods cost at least 500 points, though. That’s a lot of blood! To be more specific, that’s maybe ten pints of blood. You can only donate blood every fifty-six days. What’s great about donating blood is that you can save up to three lives with each pint. The second time I gave blood, I didn’t really give blood, but I gave platelets—which are useful for creating clots to stop bleeding. I don’t know why the sick need platelets, honestly, but I know they spoil after three days, and the hospitals are always in need, they say.
Diamonds of the Winter Streets by Nathan Kamal
450 million years have led to this moment. A half mile below the surface of the earth, five bearded men in construction hats and safety glasses drill several dozen holes, each two inches in diameter and ten feet deep, into the wall of the Cayuga Salt Mine in Lansing, New York. Dim, yellow, incandescent lamps cast light on the mineral for the first time in a geological eon.