Are you ready for the interview, Sloan Thill?
Is that a question?
Again, yes. I just wanted to make sure this time was still convenient.
I had signed up for it, so why wouldn’t it be?
I just like to verify that everything is alright before I begin, if there was a change in your schedule between the booking three weeks ago and now.
I’d tell you, wouldn’t I?
Now you can, if you’d like.
And am I?
No, you’re not telling me otherwise. Apologies. I just wanted to ensure that this interview wasn’t too much of a burden, given your insistence on very rarely doing them.
For these reasons exactly.
Yes, okay, but before we begin –
We haven’t already?
I’d like to thank you personally for doing an interview with us at ProsE.
You were the only one to ask persistently.
The others must’ve learned then.
Well, your displeasure with interviews. It is said that you’re the least recorded author, despite your fame and accolades.
I speak when I speak and write when I write.
Let’s talk about that – your writing.
I am not writing now, though so I can’t promise much more than what I say.
This is true, though I ensure you a scribe is taking very detailed notes.
You’re right again. Nonetheless, there will be a copy of this interview we’ll send and you’ll splice it up accordingly.
Why would I fragment myself further?
Your stories do this to an extent. They’ve often been called self-referential. Super-autobiographies where you insert yourself in contexts otherwise not experienced.
Don’t all authors do this – write from themselves for themselves as they know themselves?
To an extent, yes I’d agree, but what I’m suggesting is that you’re stories – Inwink, for example – manifests your being into a desolate landscape, one which you must live in and survive from.
My being? I’m sorry but the character’s name was –
It was Higgs, which is obviously not your name, Sloan. But the traits of the individual, from their persnicketyness, their relationships with their parents, their parent’s occupation, the name of their first dog – all of it parallels your own life.
So you tell me.
So it is there.
Must’ve been a first draft.
Funny joke. A joke that Higgs would not make. For while he mirrors your own life, Higgs lives distinctly in his own world. He maintains his own distance from you. This could be subscribed to necessary authorial conceits, but I think it’s part of blending this physical world with one more enchanted, magical, enlivened.
Hardly. The day and night fall equally. Matters when you look up.
Naturally, but by putting yourself into your protagonists and antagonists alike you stretch yourself further than what you know in order to know more about yourself.
All MFA nonsense. They are they and I am me. We’re different.
Yet your rawness, your terse phrases here, your wild emotions catapult Inwink, and all your stories. Each holds a different glimpse from your life, one that is warped only by the thickness of the page.
Is it uncommon for authors to leave bits of themselves?
Minimalists would say yes. But the post-modernism, the experimentalism that describes so many writers isn’t found in your work. It seems you prefer frankness and brute honesty, however blunt and however barbed with wires and nails – sometimes human ones – to tampering with the craft.
I write. Is that not enough?
No doubt; why else would we be talking to you?
Because you need to publish a monthly magazine and I answered an email.
And now you’re answering questions –
Again, is that a question?
– like this one: what is your writing process?
I am here interviewing instead of writing. I know so little.
Your readers would disagree. So would the Nobel Committee.
I am glad my books got into the hands of the legacy of a dynamite man who caused more harm than any peace prize winner has ever mended.
Is that why you refused the prize?
I was caught in a story. Finishing is its own reward.
Some other writers have started spats with you as a consequence of your rejection. They believe you have disgraced not only history, but the others who struggle in Canada to maintain the literary zeitgeist.
If they are saying zeitgeist in Canada, perhaps the award should’ve went to a German.
It has, many times. Thomas Mann. Hermann Hesse. Herta Muller.
Wunderbar. I hope they liked keeping it in the Deutsch family.
If that wunderbar wasn’t suspect enough, you have some Deutsch in you, don’t you?
I ate a weienherst a few hours ago, sure.
Sorry, I meant your grandfather emigrated in 1910 as a child, before the war.
Much of Inwink centers on peace. There is rarely any action, any physical violence of any sort. Do you think your grandfather coming to Canada, not joining the forces, and avoiding associations with Nazi Germany has anything to do with this absence in conflict?
If I say yes, is it him influencing me to avoid the conflict of saying no?
Not at all. Whatever you think is the truth.
On principle I don’t understand such a topic. I lie for a living.
Which leaves me to ask: have you lied here?
I believe you said I club people with brute honesty.
Never said club, but you caught me.
I’m sure that scribe of yours pounded the keyboard and looked at you with red and tired eyes when you misspoke.
No, she isn’t here yet. Voice recording is being used first and this will be transcribed later.
So you lie, not me.
You didn’t tell me that she wasn’t here. You insisted the opposite.
I can’t recall.
Well, I won’t do the interview for you. Go back to your notes and check. In the meantime, I have some writing to do.