A question for Marilee Dahlman

Q: What kind of pieces are the most fun to write (action, lyrical, etc.)?

A: If the piece is fun to write, hopefully it will be fun to read! I enjoy writing stories where ‘stuff happens,’ preferably action that’s in some way funny or disturbing. I like flawed characters making poor life choices. Strange situations we’ve never actually experienced but can all relate to. Of course, stories where people wear dark capes or cloaks are always fun to write. When I hear ‘lyrical,’ I think poetry. I enjoy reading it, but haven’t been brave enough to tackle writing poetry myself. Maybe someday when I’ve run out of ideas for stories about Mars.

Marilee Dahlman’s story “Las Vegas Museum of Space Exploration
in Metaphorosis Friday, 21 June 2019.
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A question for Pablo Valcárcel

Q: What are you reading now?

A: Currently, I’m reading Gareth Hanrahan’s excellent debut The Gutter Prayer. It feels very fresh to me, and kind of reminds me of the first time I read China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station. Both are urban fantasy tales set in labyrinthine cities, and both have some really fascinating worldbuilding behind them. Other fresh reads in my mind are Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus and Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris. The Night Circus was a delightful read. It offered plenty of dreamlike, romantic vistas wrapped up in exquisite prose. Lem’s Solaris, on the other hand, ended being up a much harder read for me, but at the same time, the power of its imagery and its philosophical ideas made the journey completely worth it.

Pablo Valcárcel’s story “The Thousand Revolutions of Kronstadt
in Metaphorosis Friday, 14 June 2019.
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A question for Matthew Amundsen

Q: What is the first/most recent book that you lost sleep reading/thinking about?

A: The most recent book I lost sleep over was William S. Burroughs’ The Western Lands. His reimagining of the Egyptian Book of the Dead was a dense and bittersweet coda to a long history of difficult works.

Matthew Amundsen’s story “Country Whispers
in Metaphorosis Friday, 7 June 2019.
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A question for Tomas Marcantonio

Q: What is your favorite fairy tale and why?

A: Beauty and the Beast. A wonderful romance, but also because the Beast’s library is to die for.

Tomas Marcantonio’s story “Unmasked
in Metaphorosis Friday, 31 May 2019.
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A question for Danos Philopoulos

Q: Is there a specific environment you find most conducive to drawing, and is it different for different kinds of scenes?

A: All my drawing is done indoors at the convenience and privacy of my home. I’ll either be creating on the sofa, in bed or at my desk. It mostly has to do with being in a calm and happy state of mind.

Danos Philopoulos‘s image “Escape” is the cover art for our June 2019 issue.Metaphorosis

A question for Nicholas M. Stillman

Q: What is the hardest part of writing for you?

A: Is The Entirety of the Revision Process an acceptable response?

I was famous in my workshops for being a “Blank Page Reviser,” meaning I stripped my stories down to nothing when even the fewest amount of revisions were suggested. Even this story, “The Memory Dresser,” has been rewritten from a blank page at least five times. I thought this strategy demonstrated my dedication, my perfectionism, and a mind brimming with new ideas. While all of those might be true, I feel it also speaks to a deeper truth: revision requires an objective form of self-analysis which is difficult to practice. It means knowing the difference between writing a bad scene and having low self-esteem, or a good scene and an inflated ego.

I think a lot about the Dunning-Kruger Effect, or: “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” For me, this is the crux of the paradox of revising. The more I write, the more keenly aware of my writing deficiencies I become, the less confident my writing becomes, the worse it gets. Essentially, my self-confidence was much higher when I was much worse. This, I don’t think, is fair.

And so I tinker, I dabble, I erase, I re-write and the more I do it, the worse I feel. Yet, here I am. Bulldozing and sawing and reimagining a perfectly acceptable painting of a shed until it looks like a boat, which is not better or worse—just different. Have you seen my boat? I ask. What happened to the shed? they ask. One moment, I say as I begin painting for them a fresh pterodactyl.

But, occasionally, in a moment of unexpected glory, I realize that the pterodactyl, not the shed or the boat, was what I had been trying for so long to create.

Nicholas M. Stillman’s story “The Memory Dresser
in Metaphorosis Friday, 24 May 2019.
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