Scott Garson is the author of American Gymnopédies. He edits Wigleaf and has stories in or coming from American Short Fiction, Mississippi Review, New York Tyrant, Unsaid and others.You can read “Duluth Gymnopédie,” originally published in Hobart, on Fictionaut.
Q (Meg Pokrass) As a reader, which writers have you recently discovered and felt closest to?
News of his death has prompted a slow rediscovery of Barry Hannah. When I first read him, I was put off by some parts of the bargain readers end up having to strike with his narrators (anybody who’s read him at all will know which parts I mean). But reading him now, I think I may fall more within his line than within those of some of his contemporaries I used to like more.
At different points, have you had mentors? Do you mentor?
I’ve mentored a little. Have I had a mentor? Probably not, but as I was asking myself that question earlier today, the face of my first fiction prof came into my head — Wayne Carver, who’s now emeritus at Carleton College. He was a quiet guy, willing to let you learn nothing if that was what you wanted. But he took fiction seriously. When he talked about stories — which he did in intense, somewhat monotone jags — it was clear that he was talking about magic.
How do you stay creative? What are your tricks to get “unstuck?”
You didn’t say ‘writer’s block,’ but can I tell you why I have no patience for that term? It makes it seem like you’ve caught a cold — like you’ve had some bad luck that you have to wait out. From my angle, if you’re stuck, you’re telling yourself something as a writer. You’re telling yourself, Something in the vision ain’t right. You’re saying, If I push ahead in this way, wrong will be piled on wrong.
Tell us about what is new with Wigleaf!
I’m still loving up to this year’s Wigleaf Top 50, guest-edited by Brian Evenson, which went live a couple of weeks ago. Now I’m on summer break-from Wigleaf and work — but I’m already looking forward to the new stories in the fall (the first two, both wildly great, will be from Glen Pourciau and Andrea Kneeland; and as of now there are two debut stories, by unpublished writers). Also — and this is the official announcement, I guess — we’re doing a special late-summer issue with Robert Swartwood, tied to the release of Norton’s Hint Fiction anthology.
What is happening right now that you would like to share in your writing world? Tell us about your new book… etc.
The collection, American Gymnopédies, has sold out, but I’m hoping that as word of it spreads a reprint of some kind will start to make sense. On the writing front: I’m in the middle of a longer story whose working title derives from a mishearing of an old Helium lyric — “Crazy and Dirty and Fucked.” If it works out (maybe that kind of working title is not such a good idea?), it should be the last one in a full-length collection I’m in the end stages of getting together. Of course, I’ve been saying that for over a year now — that I’m in the end stages.
The Fictionaut Five is our ongoing series of interviews with Fictionaut authors. Every Wednesday, Meg Pokrass asks a writer five (or more) questions. Meg is an editor at Smokelong Quarterly, and her stories and poems have been published widely. She blogs at http://megpokrass.com.