Thursday, August 27, 2015

In which we talk The New York Stories with the Christopher Bowen at Burning River and we just can't thank him enough for doing so.

We really can't. The Bowen is good people and we are most appreciative. Excerpt? Word.

C: I found a lot of humor in your writing, especially when exposing hidden faults in the people from the fictional town Two Rivers. Some of the more serious themes included a lot about neighborhood cheating husbands, domestic violence, even accidental homicides and statutory rapes. How has your work as a social worker or even just a human being prepared you to talk and write about Two Rivers or even about the past or fiction as ‘fiction?’

B: You’re killing it with these questions man and to unpack this question, first humor. I am drawn to people’s general fucked-upedness, and so I consider it important to balance what are very real incidents that we encounter, engage in or hear about, with humor whether it serves as a balm, or a means to allow the reader to catch their breath. That’s not always conscious though, nor do the reactions to some of the pieces always make sense to me. When “No Nothing” got accepted, the editor said it was the favorite humor piece they had read that day. I know I purposely added some humor, but not that much. Or take “Longing,” the first time I read it out loud, everyone stopped moving and seemed a little weirded out. But then the second time I read it, people were laughing more than seemed appropriate. Maybe I did something different. Or they were a different crowd and the laughing was because they were even more uncomfortable. I don’t know. What’s also not conscious, is how much being a social worker plays a role in any of this. What I know is that I am social worker in part because I was raised by activists and my mom was a therapist, and in part because I was always observing people’s behavior. This too started with my parents, and what my mom has said was my need to make sense of the chaos I grew-up around. Still, I always watch people’s reactions to what’s going on, and listen to how they speak – word choice, when they stammer – and on and on. This has made me a better social worker and facilitator, once I had some practice anyway, and it certainly informs my characters too.

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