One more guest post that saw a delay in the posting. This one from Wendy J. Fox (who was actually the first one to jump on the request, the first to give me her idea, and the first to complete her post).
Emerging Writers Network – Where Are They Now?
In this ninth year of the Emerging Writers Network’s annual Short Story Month, we’ll look back on a few of EWN’s early short-story writers who were featured on the blog. We’ll get their perspectives on those early stories, see where they are now, and ask for advice for new writers.
Fox: What was important to you about this story when you wrote it?
DeNiro: What was important to me at the time was (1) working in kind of a dead end job editing textbooks, which provided plenty of fodder for the story and (2) the DC metro system: those deep, cavernous escalators hinting at a passage between worlds.
Engle: I wanted to explore the romantic intensity that can exist between two people who are not in a specific, defined relationship with one another. I'm intrigued by those ambiguous spaces, blurred emotional lines and mixed up loyalties, where they begin and where they end. I also wanted to show how sometimes our most affecting relationships are ones that we never act on.
Ellen: When I wrote that story I had just read Sam Pink’s I Am Going to Clone Myself Then Kill the Clone and Eat It so I was trying to be funny too.
Evenson: I've always had an interest in a kind of European literary detective story—my first collection, Altmann's Tongue, has a novella in it that's a response to Leonardo Sciascia's work in that vein. With "The Moldau Case" I was also interested in the relationship of individuals to the social structures they participate in, particularly somewhat faceless and potentially threatening ones. Add to that the desire to have two narratives that each only tell part of the story and maybe leave a gap between them that the reader has to fill in and you have "The Moldau Case."
Fox: What is the context for to story now? Is it in a collection, did it become part of a novel, have the characters shown up in other stories/ projects?
DeNiro: “Work of the Day” had already appeared in my first collection, Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead (Small Beer Press, 2006), a book that was also a Lit-Blog Co-Op Read This pick.
Engle: "Día" was published as part of my first book, Vida (Grove Atlantic, 2010), which follows the same narrator, Sabina, over several decades of her life.
Ellen: The story is in my collection Fast Machine. (Short Flight/Long Drive Books, 2012).
Evenson: “The Moldau Case” became part of Windeye (Coffee House Press, 2012).
Fox: What’s your advice for emerging writers?
DeNiro: Give yourself the room and breadth to constantly change. Writing is not a monoculture. Be open to influences from other arts and think about how you can transform that energy into prose.
Engle: Read and write to no end. Your greatest asset is your discipline, showing up for the page. Be compassionate with yourself while also being an honest critic of your work and growth as a writer.
Ellen: My advice for emerging writers is to shut your mouth because the literary community doesn’t really want to hear any dissenting voices or opinions. :)
Evenson: I think just to persist. I've known a lot of great writers over the years, many of them smarter or better than me, who have had a hard time facing rejection or who have slowly given up on the writing, and even on reading. You've got to be resilient and also to treat every new book or story you read as an occasion to learn something new.
Wendy J. Fox is the author of The Seven Stages of Anger and Other Stories (Press 53, 2014) and The Pull of It, (Underground Voices, 2016)