Friday, May 18, 2012

Adam Haslett

Adam Haslett is the author of You Are Not A Stranger Here, a short story collection, which was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, and won the PEN/Winship Award. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Zoetrope, and Best American Short Stories as well as National Public Radio’s Selected Shorts.

His debut novel Union Atlantic was published in 2010.

From the author's 2010 Q & A with Kate Levin:

Your story collection, You Are Not A Stranger Here, was published in 2002. You’ve said in an earlier interview that you begin a short story by hearing a voice or catching hold of a certain sentence rhythm. Do you summon a voice or a rhythm when you’re sitting down at your desk? In other words, do you write your way into a certain voice? Or do you hear it first and then try to nail it down with words?

It’s more the former. The reason you have to spend so long at your desk is because you need to be there when it happens. It’s nice to think that you’d walk down the street and something would come to you whole cloth, but it doesn’t happen much. It has to do with a certain calming of the mind, quieting the voices of distraction. I meditate every morning before I work, and that’s a process of getting rid of a lot of the things that block out those quieter, subtler voices in your own mind. So, I don’t know if I can say that I can summon those voices, but maybe I can hear them better. It’s sort of a negative skill, the skill of concentration. It’s the skill—increasingly difficult, it seems to me—of blocking out a manic culture, in order to be able to listen to something that, when you first hear it, is a wisp of a nothing of an echo. And if it’s ever going to have life, you have to pay attention to it, take it seriously, let it be more...[read on]
Visit Adam Haslett's website.

See Adam Haslett's five best deathless accounts of mourning.

The Page 69 Test: Union Atlantic.

--Marshal Zeringue