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Living Documents: An Interview with Vauhini Vara

- By Chaya Bhuvaneswar

Chaya Bhuvaneswar: Tell us the journey of how you came to write the stories in this wonderful, unsettling collection. Were there some that came quickly and others that took more time?

Vauhini Vara: For me, everything I write feels like a living document, up until the time it's published in a book, and I’m no longer allowed to change it. I love going back into the same pieces over and over, getting them closer to what they’re meant to be. I began writing about half of these stories in 2008, when I entered graduate school. At the time, I didn’t conceive of them as belonging to a collection because I was just starting out as a writer. The revision process was really long—ten to fifteen years—for all of the stories I...


10 Questions for Lisa Fay Coutley

- By Franchesca Viaud

When Buddha said silence is an empty
space & space is the home of the awakened

mind, he hadn't yet crossed his legs
& held his spine both firm & calm

in the smoke-filled avocado kitchen
of my small girlhood.
—from "Cuffing Season" by Lisa Fay Coutley, Volume 64, Issue 2 (Summer 2023)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
The first poem that comes to mind is not the first ever but the first I revised for many hours in that way I came to know as really working a piece. A few years before that, the dysfunction of my life brought me to the page, which led me to return to school as a young, single mother, and this poem, “Small Girl,” which...


10 Questions for Mónica Gomery

- By Franchesca Viaud

Today, summer is over.
Today, everybody is ready
for autumn's crimson sleight 
of hand. Everybody wants to peel
off a green dress, flirt with the bitter
temperature, get into a fight. 
—from "Rosh Hashanah" by Mónica Gomery, Volume 64, Issue 2 (Summer 2023)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
I wrote constantly as a kid. As soon as I could put letters together, I was exhilarated to give it a try as often as possible. My mother is a visual artist, and she encouraged my brother and me to make art of all kinds. One of her best moves was buying us these blank hardcover books– the pages were unlined and open, even the covers were blank, so I could write the book, give it a...


10 Questions for Cleo Qian

- By Franchesca Viaud

I was, and continue to be, impatient. During the rests, I never counted properly, always stumbling forward to get to the next note. I didn't understand how a song worked, how to contextualize notes and phrases, the arc of a piece. When I performed, I relied on muscle memory: if you stopped me after I started, I couldn't go on. 
—from "Common Time" by Cleo...


10 Questions for Oz Johnson

- By Edward Clifford

I never gave Judaism much thought until college. I happened upon a seminar on the Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel, who argues that holiness can be located not within space but across time, with each cycle of weeks binding us to the moment of creation. Enchanted by this idea, I started to believe that maybe the point of life isn’t to offer something new to the world but to do the same banal things over and over, with a bit more care each go-around.
—from "An Introduction to Exile," Volume 64, Issue 3 (Summer 2023)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
Unlike a lot of writers, I didn’t write stories for fun as a kid. I’ve never kept a diary. I spent most of my adult life thinking that I wasn...

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