Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Danielle Trussoni. Her new novel, The Ancestor, is available from William Morrow.

 
Trussoni is the bestselling author of Angelology and Angelopolis. She currently writes the Horror column for the New York Times Book Review and has recently served as a jurist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Trussoni holds an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she won the Michener-Copernicus Society of America award. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages. She lives in the Hudson River Valley with her family and her pug Fly.

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The sleek downtown building shakes
upon my arrival. The woman who
interviews me has flat silver hair, like a fish,
a head of flashing scales. She fingers
her Montblanc pen, I think of marbles.
As in, I lost mine a long time ago.

As she talks, I fall into a reverie in which
we become BFFs. We go to the doctor,
and there I see her heart looks like a chicken
claw. I come to and learn that you can scratch
a surface and only find more self-critique. I mean,
I didn’t get the job.

 

Got slapped with a $150 fine because I missed a psychiatry appointment because my sleep schedule inverted because of this weird new life. I am biologically prone to exist nocturnally in the absence of external responsibility and structure. I work for a utility company, which is as essential to the upkeep of society as it gets, but my position is not essential. My department, however, which repairs its vehicles, is essential, and it was decided we split into two groups, switching off biweekly between who stays home and who comes in. I’m nervous that I must go out into the world tomorrow but count myself lucky I’m still getting a full paycheck. The windshield from the totaled truck looked like crumpled paper in the trash can. The businesses that remain open have large panes of plexiglass hanging from their ceilings to keep the cashiers safe from customers who have come for burritos or coffee. I’ve had to revise habits, such as shooting snot rockets and picking up and pocketing every coin I see glint from the sidewalk. Almost everything I see or hear or think can kickstart a train of thought that delivers me to Pola.

Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Rowan Hisayo Buchanan. Her new novel, Starling Days, is available from The Overlook Press. It is the official April pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 

Buchanan is also the author of Harmless Like You, winner of The Authors’ Club First Novel Award and a Betty Trask Award. It was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and an NPR 2017 Great Read.

Her short work has appeared in several places, including Granta, Guernica, The Guardian, The Harvard Review, and NPR’s Selected Shorts.

She lives in London.

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Although Sharron Hass has warned that rationality is the enemy of generosity

sex four times in one week ÷ our public argument at dinner =
sex twice X  the I want to see you text one workday at noon.

My four birthday presents for your four kids  ÷ (your telling me when your mother’s birthday was by telling me you’d bought flowers for her +
you did so only because I asked you what you did that day) > (your mother phoning me on my birthday to tell me that her gift to me would be a new pair of sunglasses – your dislike of my current pair of sunglasses).

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Kevin Bigley. His new novel, Comaville, is available from Clash Books.

 

 

Bigley is an actor/author. He can be seen on such television as Amazon’s Undone, USA’s Sirens, as well as heard on Netflix’s Bojack Horseman. Currently, he’s starring in the new Greg Daniels show Upload, coming to Amazon on May 1st. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Christopher and I saw it running across the street in a neighbor’s front yard. At first, we thought it was a large cat and didn’t think much of it. There are stray cats in our neighborhood. They run in people’s yards. After about 10 minutes of the animal appearing in and out of our window’s view, I was annoyed. I walked to the window and saw that it was a small black dog, trotting diagonally down the middle of the street with its mouth open. It didn’t seem totally aimless–I got the sense that it lived within our crescent shaped street’s selection of houses. A red car drove by and the dog started chasing the car.  I got our dog’s leash and Christopher went ahead of me to try to get the dog’s attention.

When I walked down the street, Christopher was talking to the dog, with it standing about 5 feet away from him. He had a red collar on, and the collar had a tag. The dog eventually approached us and we were able to look at the tag. The owner had put the dog’s license for the county on but not a tag with their name, phone number or address. The dog was fine with us putting him on a leash and wanted to keep walking. At this time, the red car that the dog had been chasing drove by again, and I waved at the driver in case it was the dog’s owner searching for the dog but missing it both times they drove past, and they did not respond. We called the dog shelter and it was closed.

Who exactly are the Girls Like Us you refer to in the title of your collection? Are you suggesting that men shouldn’t read your work?

Originally the title was “Girls Like You” which is a phrase I’ve heard many times over the years, both as compliment and critique. Either way, it was such a reductive statement, often derogatory: “Girls like you can’t be trusted” or “Girls like you aren’t worth my time.” The idea that I – or any of us – is just a type bothers me. I like to believe that my pain and suffering are unique! But then I started thinking that there is comfort in knowing I am not alone in my experience. #Metoo brought a lot of old hurts to the surface and helped me recognize the power of community. That there are many women with similar difficulties, who have faced similar challenges and internalized society’s misogyny in similarly self-destructive ways is actually a good thing. Instead of feeling shame over being a “girl like me” I wanted to take ownership of myself – the good and the bad. And I wanted to commiserate with other women rather than compete with or shame them.

I definitely want men to read my work! I hope that some of these poems might provide perspective that will help men to take into account and understand the undercurrents of misogyny that have run through our culture for decades.

Devices

By Elizabeth Hazen

Poem

Rhyme relies on repetition: pink drink,
big wig, tramp stamp, rank skank. Alliteration

too: Peter Piper’s pickled peppers, silly
Sally’s sheep – silly trumping smart because

the lls create consonance. Assonance
repeats vowel sounds: hot bod, dumb slut, frigid bitch.

Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Juliana Delgado Lopera. Their new novel, Fiebre Tropical, is available from The Feminist Press. It was the official February pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 
Lopera’s other books include Quiéreme (Nomadic Press 2017) and ¡Cuéntamelo! (Aunt Lute 2017) an illustrated bilingual collection of oral histories by LGBT Latinx immigrants which won a 2018 Lambda Literary Award and a 2018 Independent Publisher Book Award.

Their work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Teen Vogue, The Rumpus, The White Review, LALT, Four Way Review, Broadly, TimeOut Mag, and more.

They live in San Francisco.

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Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Amanda Goldblatt. Her debut novel, Hard Mouth, is available from Counterpoint Press.

 

Goldblatt’s work can lately be found at NOON, Fence, and Diagram. She was a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow, and teaches creative writing at Northeastern Illinois University.

She lives in Chicago, with her architect partner, and no dog.

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A girl: a train.

A girl, walking along the train tracks: a train, hammering along the train tracks.

A girl, lost in her thoughts, walking along the train tracks: a train, mindlessly fast, hammering along the train tracks.

A girl, lost in her thoughts, train tracks on a mountain pass: a train, fast, train tracks on a mountain pass.

A girl, lost in her thoughts, train tracks, a mountain pass, sun: a train, fast, tracks, pass, sun.

A girl, thoughts, tracks, pass, sun, trees: a train, fast, tracks, pass, sun, trees.

She doesn’t hear the whistles and bells.

The train crumples like a paper accordion.

Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Megan Boyle. Her novel LIVEBLOG is available from Tyrant Books.

 

This is Megan’s second time on the program. She first appeared in Episode 13 on October 30, 2011.

She is also the author of selected unpublished blog posts of a mexican panda express employee (Muumuu House, 2011). Her writing has appeared in Vice, the Believer, Thought Catalog, and other places online and in print. She has been liveblogging her life since March 17, 2020 on her Tumblr. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Crissy Van Meter. Her debut novel, Creatures, is available from Algonquin Books.

 
Van Meter teaches creative writing at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College and is the founder of the literary project Five Quarterly. She’s also the managing editor for Nouvella Books and serves on the board of directors for the literary non-profit Novelly. She lives in Los Angeles.

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