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Q and A

Dec 14, 2007; Really? Asks:

Most of the time you don't like music at all? This is hyperbole, right? Your boyfriend is a composer. Would he take offense to that?

Stacey answers:

Well, I used to really, really like music and now I hardly listen to it at all. I just don't like it how it sounds anymore. I feel sort of like Kafka's hunger artist, but in respect to music rather than food. It's not that I don't like it, it's just that I can't find any I like. This doesn't seem to bother anyone else. In fact, it makes car trips a lot easier.

Dec 13, 2007; Wag Asks:

Even Rock Opera?

Stacey answers:

I like rock opera! I also have a thing for Queen and I still love "Bohemian Rhapsody," the first record I ever bought myself as a little girl. I used to lie between my stereo speakers and listen to News of the World. Sometimes, when I'm tired, those words still run through my head, over and over: News of the world, news of the world.

Dec 12, 2007; Uch Asks:

Opera. Tell me about it. The whole premise pisses me off. Oh, I have a feeling, now I'm going to sing about it for twenty freaking minutes. Uh-oh my boyfriend cheated on me, now I have a different feeling, I'll just warble on and on about it while the plot spawns mosquitos. How can you like it if you at all value concision in art?

Stacey answers:

I like to imagine a time before movies, when most people didn't travel very much or very far, when something like opera must have been stupdendous. So grand, so sublime! Maybe, then, the weird way opera singing sounds would have made more sense. But I prefer a voice like Ella Fitzgerald's, close and conversational. Though most of the time, I don't like music at all.

Dec 07, 2007; Wag Asks:

Okay, I know Dan is not your husband-- it just feels weird calling my friend's significant others "boyfriend" or "significant other." Anyway, I realize your publisher owns the rights to Twin Study, but couldn't you make a deal to produce an audio package and have them distribute it? It's sad and true that you can't just take copies of your book from bookstores, but do you think they would be angry if you autographed them and left them there? A friend of mine likes to autograph bibles he finds in places he stays on the road and writes something like "To Motel 6, thanks for leavin' the light on-- Jesus."

Stacey answers:

Oh my God, I love the motel room bible-signing. I wish I'd thought of that.

The books that become audiobooks are usually bestsellers, Wag, so I don't think I'm in any danger of making one soon. I'm not a big fan of audiobooks, anyway. I tried to listen to On the Road as read by Matt Dillon but it made me too sad. A few days ago I tried to listen to Eat That Frog!, a book about time management, and it made me feel like the most pathetic, lonely loser on a planet full of pathetic, lonely losers. It was the content, sure, but there's something about audiobooks that hollows my soul. You know what else bothers me? Opera.

You can refer to my boyfriend as Mr. Stacey Richter.

Nov 30, 2007; Wag Asks:

Have you entertained the thought of making a "book-on-tape" version of your writing? I mean, your husband is a sound recording type thingy guy right?

Stacey answers:

Dan is not my husband, Wag. He's not even my registered domestic partner. He's more like a wild bird who alights on my finger every time I stretch out my hand in the forest. But the deal with books-on-tape is that the rights to that are owned by the book publisher, so I'm not allowed to make my own recording and sell it. I also can't sell my own version of Twin Study. The copyright belongs to the book publisher, though eventually it will revert to me and I can do whatever I want with it, I guess. The weirdest part about this is that when I see my books in a bookstore, I feel like I can take one and it wouldn't be stealing. But it's stealing.

Nov 30, 2007; Amy M Asks:

I discovered your work in a college Fiction Writing class several years ago. My question: What do you think about your work being involved in (i.e., used as an example of kick-ass writing) a college writing class?

Stacey answers:

I think it's great. It makes me feel like an extra-fancy writer lady. The first time I found my name on a syllabus (the result of a Google vanity search), I was so excited that I wrote the teacher a thank-you note.

Nov 28, 2007; Hamlet Asks:

Are we depressed because we're writers, or are we writers because we're depressed?

Stacey answers:

Neither. You're depressed because you haven't been going to the right garage sales. I haven't been depressed since I plucked Normal Vincent Peale's book Stay Alive All Your Life from a pile of dusty paperbacks. Maybe some of Dr. Peale's suggestions for living will help you as much they it helped me:

"Get your personality organized and your thoughts tightened. Effective thinking and action will result."

"Keep your efficiency high by stopping leakages of power caused by fear, inferiority, etc."

"The practice of thought replacement can bring about spirit transfusion: Replace each weak thought with a strong one. Replace each negative thought with a positive one. Replace each hate thought with a loving one. Replace each gloomy thought with a lifted one."

And, my favorite: "Get in the habit of acting joyful in a normal and reasonable manner."

Nov 26, 2007; Hector Asks:

What's your Achilles heel?

Stacey answers:


Nov 24, 2007; Wag Asks:

Why do you suppose douche has taken on such derogatory connotations? I mean, I've never used one, but it seems like something that would be quite refreshing, like a cool breeze on a summer's eve.

Stacey answers:

Good question. Let's make it a nice thing and see if the kids pick it up: Wag, you are so douche. I wanna be just like you someday. Douche bag. Douche pouch. Douche.

Nov 23, 2007; Paul Asks:

When you win a Pushcart what happens? Is there a ceremony? Do you get a letter or a statue like the Oscars? Does it open a lot more doors? Are a lot more journals willing to publish you?

Stacey answers:

Wouldn't a ceremony be great? Like a dinner with round tables and wine and speakers at a lectern? There's none of that, sadly. No certificate, no statuette, just one free contributor's copy, a paperback. You are notified via email by the magazine that published the story. The best part is that from then on, you can nominate other stories, essays, or poems for subsequent editions. If anyone wants to suggest a story for me to look at, please send me an email ( before the end of the year. It has to be from 2007, and it would be nice if it were fabulous/life-changing. Don't be shy. I never get a chance to investigate enough journals and I'd love suggestions. I probably won't be able to find everything, so, you know, don't freak out if nothing happens, but I'll try my best to at least look at it.

Winning a Pushcart opened doors for me, definitely. It helped me find an agent. A lot more journals were willing to publish me.

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