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Nov 13, 2007; Dan Asks:

Short follow up: The new Tin House arrived today. You still don't have yours?

Stacey answers:

I still don't have mine. I'm suppressing an expletive.

Update, November 27, still don't have one.

Nov 13, 2007; Rowling Asks:

Who's your favorite Weasley?

Stacey answers:

I suppose you mean the Weasley family from the Harry Potter books. Okay, here's where I stand on the Harry Potter books. I've read a few, I like them, they're light in the best way, but they're very, very long. I've decided that I can't read a 2000+ page book for children. I just can't do it. I'm a great believer in brevity and nothing on earth deserves to be that long. Also, I've still only read the first half of War and Peace, and if I want to read a mondo epic, I'll finish that.

Nov 13, 2007; Dan Asks:

I followed the NY Times link for getting rejected by committee. It sounds like American Idol for fiction but there is no opportunity for fame simply by being a freak or outlandishly awful. And you don't get on TV. Those two features should be included if they're going to bother. By the way, the Fairy Tale review published what looked like a novel excerpt from you. Is that forthcoming? Thanks

Stacey answers:

Hi Dan. Good for you! I really just put that link in because I couldn't think of a good joke. Still, why not.

Yes, there's an excerpt from a novel I wrote in Fairy Tale Review, and the piece in Tin House is another excerpt from the same novel. I wrote a comment on Gwenda Bond's blog that explains a little about the status of that novel, if you're interested:

http://gwendabond.typepad.com/bondgirl/2006/12/novel_hopes.html

Nov 12, 2007; What's up with that? Asks:

Stacey, can we talk about the thing about writers having issues? I say this as a writer who has dated writers. I agree that it isn't good. What is up with that? Do we know?

Stacey answers:

Being a writer is strange. It can mean you end up with a combination of personality traits that seem like they would cancel each other out, but they don't. They just exist together in uneasy disharmony. On one hand, writing fiction can be a quest for perfect understanding, or perfect communication--a sort of deep (yet impersonal) intimacy. I think that people are driven to write by a hope for this understanding. Because if a writer can write the exact right book, then she will have finally said it. It, the it. I don't know what the it is, but it will be something she really wanted to say her whole life, and maybe she couldn't figure out how to say it in less than a book, or maybe no one would listen, or maybe she wants a permanent record.

On the other hand, most writers like to be alone, and even if they don't love that part, exactly, the whole activity of writing is a solitary endeavor that comes from a private part of the self. So, what you end up with is a person who craves intimacy (as long as it's impersonal) and also would really like everyone else to just fucking leave them alone. Which specific issues this engenders--philandering, control-freakism, work-obsession, self-hatred, wasted-life syndrome, disappointment with everything, disconnection, come-here go-away-disease (that's mine!), and let's not forget substance abuse--is up for grabs.

Or, I don't know, maybe I'm making an unfair generalization. I know some perfectly happy writer couples. Nothing is true for everyone. But if you can help it, don't date a writer.

Nov 08, 2007; Wistar Asks:

Hi Stacey. I bought the new Tin House at last. It's great. Pixar should make a movie about Miss Pretty. Last night I was wondering about your social life. What's your balance of writerly to non-writerly friends? Do other writers get on your nerves or do you stick with your own kind? Also, do you know Aimee Bender personally or do you just share pages with her sometimes?

Stacey answers:

Wistar, I'm so glad you bought the Tin House. For a while, I was really excited about it, but now that the weeks are dragging by and I still haven't received my contributor's copy, I've sort of stopped caring about it, or anything really. Other writers understand this, which is why I'd say about half my friends are writers. That's probably a few too many, but I'm sure I annoy them as much as they annoy me so it works out okay. The important thing is to never date a writer. Never ever. Writers have issues.

I've met Aimee Bender a few times and have the signed books to prove it.

Nov 07, 2007; Wag Asks:

Hello Stacey! Long time! How are you? How is the book doing (and by "the book" I mean your book "Twin Study" not the book as a storytelling medium).

Stacey answers:

Hello Wag. I am fine, thank you, and thank you for your kind interest in my book. Although I have no sales information for Twin Study, I think I can safely assume that very, very few copies of it have been sold. I would guess less than a thousand. This is because everything is horrible and corrupt and sucks, including me but also the book industry and chain book stores. I'm so depressed about it that I don't quite have it in me to launch into a rant. But I am thinking of switching careers, although my back-up plan (real-estate broker) is probably a worse idea than author, and I'm saving my back-up back-up plan (heroin addict) for the appearance of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Though I thought I saw two of them in Scottsdale yesterday, if the horses are allowed to be miniature horses.

Nov 01, 2007; Mage Asks:

What are your thoughts on philosophers?

Stacey answers:

I like philosophers. I'm glad that there are people who think about thought, as this seems like a worthy thing to think about. I, personally, do not always find philosophy to be good reading, although I love Plato and find some of Nietzsche quite snappy. But I also have a firm, heartfelt belief that prose should be clear and reading should be a pleasure, and I've noticed that a lot of modern philosophy is sludgy. There's no subject, whether it's philosophy or lit crit or whatever, that's so complicated it has to be explained in a convoluted language of its own invention. Whenever I read that kind of philosophy, I get angry and throw the book across the room.

Oct 30, 2007; crazy Asks:

Why did I decide to go to journalism school?

Stacey answers:

How about: to change the world, to make a buck, to meet David Bowie, and because you're crazy, Crazy.

Oct 29, 2007; lady fantastique Asks:

I read your short story in 'The Worst Years Of Your Life' and I was wondering if you really did have a scar from your left temple to your lip?

Stacey answers:

No. I made it up.

Oct 26, 2007; I Love Lucy Asks:

If we continue to draw from the well of inspiration, will we deplete imagination's aquifer? Is there an alternative energy source? Can I offset my anger with some sort of credit? Is my stock overvalued? How will I know when my investment in happiness has paid off? And what if the capital gains rate has gone up by then, will I be less happy?

Stacey answers:

No, you will not deplete imagination's aquifer, though you might find that you are saying the same thing over and over again in different ways. Don't be alarmed. The trick is to be crafty about it so that everyone doesn't notice.

The only alternate energy source I can think of is caffeine.

You cannot offset your anger with some sort of credit, though it's tempting to believe that revenge will do the trick. It doesn't. You're stuck with your anger until you find religion. And you might still be stuck with it then.

Yes, your stock is probably overvalued. It's been a long bull market. Sell, sell, sell.

I'm not sure how you'll know when your investment in happiness has paid off because I didn't know that happiness required an investment. Theoretically, you can be happy immediately, with no prior investment. Sometimes, Lucy, all you have to do is turn that frown upside down. Then you don't have to worry about taxes, which should only add to your happiness.

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