Friday, July 29, 2011

Kyle Minor

Kyle Minor is the author of In the Devil's Territory, a collection of short fiction, and co-editor of The Other Chekhov. His work appears in The Southern Review, Surreal South, Best American Mystery Stories 2008, and Random House's Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers.

From his Q & A with Charles Dodd White:

CW: Your stories frequently chart the quiet spaces of the characters’ background, the private experiences. There also seems to be a regularly repeated theme of secrets kept and the way this fidelity to self can actually limit one’s ability to seek…what, happiness, fulfillment? How do you consider perception as a dynamic in your stories? Is this the entry point for your work, or is this something that seems to manifest of its own accord? Talk as much as you would like about these qualities. I think it’s one of the most fascinating things about your work.

KM: Those characters come from a culture — Southern fundamentalism — in which people talk about unconditional love, but in which, in practice, there are huge conditions not only on love but also on anything resembling relationship. If you want to be part of the community, if you want to be in right fellowship with even your own family, you have to at least outwardly conform.

One thing I noticed, growing up in communities like these, is that it is always forgivable to do the “wrong” thing, repent, say all the right things, do the wrong thing, repent, say all the right things, etc. And you can get away with doing the wrong thing, but hiding it, saying all the right things, acting in the community-sanctioned ways, talking the right talk, not saying the things you know will make people angry, and nothing makes people angrier than saying that the received story of how the world works isn’t working, so you continue to recycle the same language, the same common wisdom, the same pieties and truisms, and in so doing, people know you’re a part of the tribe in more or less good standing. What’s not forgivable, whether you’re doing “wrong” or not, is to stand up and say: A lot of this talk is bullshit. It doesn’t make any sense. We’re all walking around, operating out of guilt, granting authority to undereducated people whose reasoning is invariably circular: (How do I know it’s true? Because the Bible tells me so. How do I know the Bible is a reliable authority? Because the Bible tells me so. How can I trust the Bible when it tells me so? Because the Bible tells me so.)

I don’t mean to imply, either, that....[read on]
Learn more about Kyle Minor and his work at his website and Facebook page.

Writers Read: Kyle Minor.

--Marshal Zeringue