Thursday, April 2, 2020

Elizabeth Kadetsky

Elizabeth Kadetsky is author of the memoir First There Is a Mountain, the short story collection The Poison that Purifies You, and the novella On the Island at the Center of the Center of the World. A professor of creative writing at Penn State and nonfiction editor at the New England Review, she is the recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Program, MacDowell Colony, and Vermont Studio Center.

Kadetsky's new book is The Memory Eaters.

From her Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: Why did you decide to write this memoir, and over how long a period did you work on it?

A: I remember the moment I made the decision, weirdly enough.

It was in 2009, and I was sitting in a giant pod chair in my rented room in Pittsburgh at the end of a one year teaching and writing residency and making plans to move across the state for another writer-in-residence position.

My primary residence was still in New York City, and I was traveling there several times a month and on semester breaks to help my mother and sister manage things.

Pennsylvania, for me, was a respite from the chaos and stress of my life in New York. It was also a place to enjoy the quiet and slower pace of things, and to write.

I say “weirdly” because most of the events of the book hadn’t yet transpired. My mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about two years earlier, and I knew that the situation in New York was precarious.

Something about the cocoon-like environment in Pennsylvania led me to want to immerse myself in my memories of the past. That part, of course—the past—had already happened; but this lens on them—of nostalgia and longing—was also new.

I was aware that the coming months, and as it turned out years, would continually serve up material that I would want and need to process through the frame of this book project.

It took me 10 years to write and shape the book, though the most dramatic part of the story ended when my mother passed away at the end of 2011, two and a half years after that moment in the pod chair in Pittsburgh.

I continued...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Elizabeth Kadetsky's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: The Poison that Purifies You.

The Page 99 Test: The Memory Eaters.

--Marshal Zeringue