Since I'm directing a new musical at the moment, and just finished directing a play that my company Colt Coeur created collaboratively with playwright Lucas Kavner, I have been thinking A TON about story. And about style. And tone. And playing with time. And objects as jumping off points. Maria Irene Fornes said that she used to go to flea markets and look at the dresses hanging around a stall and try to imagine the women that would wear them. SHe'd find chairs and find a story in their shape, their cushions, and their scars. I love working this way. The musical i'm working on now is the first (new) project I've ever been a part of that I came to very late in the process. I'm finding this incredibly challenging.
Anyway, I just came across this interview by a writer named Alec Michod with Jennifer Egan, one of my absolute favorite writers and probably people.
I read The Invisible Circus in 1997 as a high-school girl with her own plans for a European-backpacking adventure. The whole time I was in Europe I'm pretty sure I was looking for Snake; Egan's super-sexy crafting of him had made me all but fall in love. I went to Cinque Terre looking for the sister who jumped as much as for the cliffs themselves. My own sister and I laughed and cried and obsessed over that book together and waited with baited breath for Emerald City. And so it has gone with each of her books. I haven't read The Goon Squad yet-- but it is on the docket for August and is probably the thing I am most looking forward to at present.
The interview is great and I especially got a kick out of the powerpoint section. It reminded me a little of William Gass or Christopher Alexander. But much less heady and much more fun.