Friday, December 5, 2008

Interview with MFA Greensboro Alum

Interview with Steve Almond
by Dave Jarecki

Steve Almond is the author of two story collections, My Life in Heavy Metal and The Evil B.B. Chow, the non-fiction book Candyfreak, the novel Which Brings Me to You, co-written with Julianna Baggott, and (Not that You Asked), a collection of “Rants, Exploits and Obsessions” released in 2007. He and his family live outside of Boston. Keep track of Steve and read some of his work on his site.

(DJ): You end your recent Boston Globe piece on David Foster Wallace ( “A Moralist of Hope”, published 9/21/08) with the following:

“We have lost one of our most powerful imaginations, a man whose works provided us a means of rescue.”

To turn this inward, do you see your work in any way providing a means of rescue? Reading your fiction and non-fiction, you’re obviously OK with exposing yourself and putting yourself out there. Within this, readers have the chance to laugh at you, with you, and at themselves. There’s a sense of rescue to that, and I’m wondering if you feel the same.

(SA): “Rescue” is probably a little lofty in my case, but that’s the basic idea. Foster Wallace – like Vonnegut before him – was a guy who was openly concerned with the fate of the species, and the terrible moral decisions we make in the day-to-day. His work was full of complex ideas, and lots of sly irony, but it was also driven by a single idea, not at all ironic, which is that humans have a duty to take care of one another.

I’m not interested in writing – or art more broadly – that doesn’t have that kind of compassion at its center. I’m not saying I want to be preached at, but I want the author to have a Christ-like mercy for the people he or she is writing about.

Read the interview in its entirety here:

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