Roxane Gay: Where There’s Wit, and Also Darkness

From her gut-wrenching short stories to her incisive humor pieces to her no-bullshit cultural criticism, Roxane Gay is a writer who writes in many forms, all brilliantly. I was lucky to get to sit down with her when she came to Bloomington for IR‘s 2nd Annual Blue Light Reading. You can hear our long-form interview on The Bluecast (forthcoming!), or read it below.

Roxane Gay: I’m going to take a picture. I take pictures of everything, so don’t be alarmed.

My name is Roxane Gay. I’m a writer, and an assistant professor at Eastern Illinois University.

Rachel Lyon: Can you describe your work a little bit?

RG: I’m a Libra, so I like a little bit of everything, so I write a little bit of everything. So I’m always just trying to write things that will move people in some form or fashion, whether I’m writing fiction or nonfiction.

Read more…

The Blue Light Gets a Back-to-School Hairdo

It’s important to have a distinctive hairstyle if you want to be remembered by future generations.  One of literary history’s more memorable hairstyles is that of Mark Twain, whose wisdom and social acumen were most likely contained in those impressively bushy locks.  As Twain grew more successful, his moustache grew accordingly, finally all but eclipsing his mouth in its enthusiastic (but perhaps somewhat misguided) attempt to fill his face.  The archetypical wise old man indeed.  And who better, then, to remind us to flaunt our own individuality?  Though Twain might have found some of the last century’s hairstyles confusing, he was definitely a fan of the moral superiority of the thinking individual, as opposed to the often idiotic and cruel morality of society as a whole.  So, in the words of Huck Finn, “I ain’t a-going to tell, and I ain’t a-going back there, anyways. So, now, le’s know all about it” (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Chapter 8).  Mark Twain reminds us that if we are ourselves, and if these selves know profoundly what is good, we too can have impressive facial hair when we are old.

Announcing Our 2012 1/2K Prize Winner and Runners-Up!

Image: Shane Gorski

 

2012 Indiana Review  ½ K Winner

“Michigan Central Station Has Been Closed Since 1988”

Lindsay Tigue

Ames, IA

 

Runners-Up

“Lies”

Jenny Halper

Brooklyn, NY

“Co-lo-ny Col-lapse Dis-or-der”

Megan Moriarty

Staten Island, NY

 

When asked to say a few words of the winning piece, contest judge Michael Martone writes:

I love trains, and I also adore ruins. I admire this piece for its content of irresistible decay and how its form replicates the unstoppable rot. This is a story that consumes itself, composts as it confounds. It is rich with stuff, with detail, with nominative junk. It names names, chock-a-block, only to have it all melt and fade away. There is no better drama in such a condensed and pressured space. To have a lump of coal transformed into diamond and then, beyond that rock, into the elemental idea of crystalline and holy loss.

“Michigan Central Station Has Been Closed Since 1988” will appear in Indiana Review 34.2, due out this winter. You can order a single issue or a year’s subscription here.

A huge congratulations to our winner and runners-up, and many thanks to all who helped make our 2012 1/2K Prize Contest a success!

Sizzling Summer Reads

As the Great Heat Wave of 2012 finally breaks, I find myself able to leave my apartment for the first time in weeks. True, I still sweat when I touch the doorknob, but I can finally stand to leave my perpetually-73-degree apartment (begrudgingly). While avoiding the heat, sun, and everything to do with outside in general, I found myself with a lot of free time and in my recent stint of hermitism, I stumbled onto a book that tried to set my heart on fire.

The Fire King

Marjorie Liu

The Fire King

The Fire King is a paranormal romance novel about the blossoming love between Karr, a shapeshifting warlord from the past, and Soria, a one-armed woman.

The plot follows Karr’s return to life and all of the craziness that usually ensues after unearthing a half-man half-dragon/lion. Soria and Karr find themselves linked together by things that they don’t understand, but what we already know as love. Read more…

Music by the Month

On iTunes, my Top 25 Most Played playlist serves as a melodic trip down memory lane. Each song reminds me of a specific place and feeling, and most importantly, a variety of well-loved people.  What better way to preserve these musically-charged memories than to write about them? It can feel daunting to write every day, so let’s make it more manageable.  Music helps to reflect, and I have compiled a list of songs to play before writing each month. I hope that you, too, are inspired to listen, reflect, and write.

 

August

“The Swimming Song,” by Loudon Wainwright III

When summer winds down, it often arbitrarily ends other things as well—jobs, romances, tans (except for those of us who only burn)… What will you miss most about summer? Read more…