I'm writing a story about ephemera right now in the form of summer and a dead car, but ephemera can be anything that doesn't stick around long. Gather your receipts before the numbers fade. Recycle the newspaper. Draw a lizard on a napkin and throw away the napkin. It all dissolves, eventually. I did some interviews that appeared on websites. Some of those interviews then disappeared. The Internet proves flimsy.
I posted the first lost interview the other day. The second interview to vanish was conducted by Amber Lee for Necessary Fiction. Not too long after this interview went live, Necessary Fiction encountered a server malfunction. When the site came back, the interview didn't come back with it.
Well, here you go.
INTERVIEW FOR NECESSARY FICTION SPRING 2013
QUESTIONS BY AMBER LEE
ANSWERS BY CASEY HANNAN
What books and/or authors have had the most influence on your writing?
Annie Proulx's work started me writing when I was 18. Then it was Hemingway. Then Didion. I read Play It as It Lays three or four times a year. I can't read more than a page before I have to put it down and write. Reading good writing makes me want to prove I can do it better. Well, not better but mine. I'm selfish. I want to lay claim. The other day someone called me a hustler of my own writing. All the writing I come back to is so clearly under the ownership of the person who wrote it.
Right now I'm reading George Whitmore's Nebraska. Whitmore shows the reader exactly what the reader needs to see. There's nothing extra. If I have a current writer like that, it's xTx. Have you read Billie the Bull? Read Billie the Bull, and see what I mean. See if you give a shit about the pseudonym anymore. The writing tells you everything you need to know.
How do you decide when a piece you've written is "finished" enough to publish?
I don't. Other people do. That's editors. The only thing I decide to do is write. It's easier to know when a pie is finished. There's usually a golden color, and if it's custard, the slightest wobble of the filling.
What would you consider to be a productive day of work, and do you have a writing routine?
A productive day of work is any day I get any writing done. Richard Bausch says, "This day's work. Each day." That's really it. My routine is: sit down and write.
What part of your writing process do you most enjoy?
The writing part.
Publisher's Weekly describes the stories in your collection, Mother Ghost, which debuts this month, as "small, but pack[ing] an intense emotional punch." How were you able to evoke such emotion from stories with respectively low word counts?
Evoking emotion in writing isn't hard. The emotion is always there, but writing gives the writer permission to express it. I'm quiet in person. People tell me secrets because I seem like a rock, and rocks don't absorb. Well, I'm not a rock. I absorb everything. It's got to go somewhere, though, and my writing is where it goes.
Do you have a favorite story in the collection? If so, what is it and why?
I don't have a favorite. Spiders don't have favorite legs. The stories in Mother Ghost function better together, which is why they're together.
But if you said you were going to erase one of the stories, I guess I'd beg you not to erase "Horse Street." There are some lines in there I still can't believe I wrote.
What else are you working on, and where can readers go to find more of your work?
I'm working on a novella about a young man living on the beach in a shack on stilts. His life is constantly threatened by tropical storms. The other people in the book are more important than he is.
I do have a story in the upcoming issue of NANO Fiction. I'm also proud of a story I had up at Wigleaf recently. It's called "The Long Beep." And of course there's my blog at casey-hannan.com.
Finally, what advice would you give yourself when you first started writing?
I wouldn't. I don't believe that sort of time-travel is healthy for writers. I'm happy where I am and how I got here. There's no reason to mess around. I would give myself other advice, though. I would tell myself to stop eating so many chicken nuggets. I would take my own hands in my hands and say, "Allow yourself some rewards, but learn how to make them all yourself."