Interview with KUCI “Writers on Writing”

“Writers on Writing” on KUCI is an excellent regular program, on which many great writers–Tobias Wolff, for example–have been interviewed at length. There’s a regular podcast to which you can subscribe for free. If you’re interested, check out their schedule:

The interviewers are sharp: they’ve actually read the books and they ask great questions.

Here’s an interview with me (on Jenny and the Jaws of Life) from January 28, 2009.   It’s the second half of the interview–you must FF past the music, etc.

KUCI interview (2d half) Jan-28-2009

Machine translation arguably improving

Here’s a Google translation of this introductory passage from Winner:

Lightning sought our mother out, when she was a young girl in Brown County, Indiana. Licked her body up and down, so she said, with a long scratchy cat tongue. She smelled the ozone, which she described as indescribable. “Not a smell at all, really, but a new and horrible sensation of the nose.” We used to beg her to elaborate. She said it didn’t smell like animal, vegetable, or mineral, or anything else in the world. Then how did you know? we asked. “It had,” she tried again, “a tactile pungency. Every hair on my body stood out straight and vibrated. I wanted to drop flat on the ground but I couldn’t move. It licked me like a big cat! Girls, I was an idea in the mind of a charged cloud!”

Then the lightning dismissed her, and demolished a dying elm across the street. “You always look so disappointed,” she’d tell us, when she came to the end of the story. “You wouldn’t be here, you know, if it hadn’t let me go.” But both of us truly were a little sorry she wasn’t struck. It reflected badly on our mother, that she was tasted and found wanting. Fate had jilted her.

“Where would we be?” Abigail always asked, and Mother would answer, variously, In Heaven, In deep space, Nowhere, Who knows?, A twinkle in your father’s eye. When I was twelve, one of the last times we talked about it, I said, “Maybe we’d be an idea in the mind of a charged cloud.” Mother was terribly pleased.

When our mother was petite–in Brown County, Indiana–the lightning had hunted. She had washed the body from top to bottom, in his words, like a large cat râpeuse language. Our mother had felt the smell of ozone, which it described as indescribable. “No smell at all, in fact, but rather a new olfactory sensation, feeling terrible.” Imploring We always develop. She explained that it was neither animal nor vegetable nor mineral nor anything known on earth. So how could you know? ask us. “This smell it and took it, had a hand in both ac and tactile. All the hairs of my body were prepared and shuddered. I wanted to drop flat on the floor, but I was unable to make the slightest gesture. Lightning licked me like a big cat! Girls, I was an idea in the head in a cloud charged with electricity!”

And then the lightning had washed it and eventually destroy an elm half dead on the other side of the street. “You always look so disappointed,” it is sad when arriving at the end of history. “You know, you would not be here if it had not turned away from me.” But it was indeed true that we may regret a little every second it would not have been foudroyée. The fact of being excluded after being tasted seriously tarnishing the image of our mother. Fate was plated. “Where would we be?” Abigail always asked, to which mother responded, depending on the day: “In Heaven,” “In outer space,” “Nowhere,” “Who knows?”, “Light in the eye of your father.” One of the last time we discussed the topic–I was then twelve years–I said: “Perhaps we would gain insight into the mind of a cloud charged with electricity.” Suggestion that rather enormously mother.[from here]