Maud Casey lives in Washington, D.C. and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Maryland. She is the author of two novels, The Shape of Things to Come and Genealogy, and a short story collection, Drastic. Her stories have appeared in Beloit Fiction Journal, Confrontation, The Gettysburg Review, The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Sonora Review, and The Threepenny Review.
From a Q & A about Genealogy at the publisher's website:
You suffered writer's block while working on Genealogy. How did you recover your ability to write? Did it inform your depiction of Samantha's inability to write poetry?Read the entire Q & A.
There wasn't one particular moment of recovery. It was a series of meltdowns (five, six?) and recoveries. One time I fled my apartment and left town. When I returned, my apartment was filled with gas. I'd forgotten to turn the oven off. Was I trying to Sylvia Plath my novel? Who knows? There was at least a year and a half of thinking: I can't do this but I can't not do this so what do I do?
One thing that helped a lot was listening to music — Bill Evans, Chopin, and the Staples Singers, in particular. The music filled the space usually taken up by the annoying voices in my head ("Give it up loser"). Music and teaching. Thinking and talking with students about other, better writers buoyed me.
And yes, my writer's block became the reason for Samantha's. Now here's something I can really write about: writer's block.
The Page 99 Test: Genealogy.