I talk with Memorial author Bryan Washington about process, identity, curation, and fiction on AEWCH 190!

17 Jun

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Friends,

As I get ready for the release of Hawk Mountain, I find myself wanting to talk to writers more and more. For advice, for good company, and honestly just because I’m so excited.

So for this episode, I talk to the much-celebrated author of the novel Memorialand story collection Lot, Bryan Washington! Memorial is a sort of negative universe version of Hawk Mountain – it uses time in a similar way (but different!) and examines the unsaid in a similar way (but different!) and the outcomes for the characters are very, very different (but similar!). After reading it, I felt enlivened and heartbroken at once. So then I read his story collection, Lot. Then, right away, I invited him onto the show. 

Bryan and I talk about desire, identity in fiction, the way writers are asked about process all the time, the productiveness of marginalization, movies, and more. This is one of my very favorite episodes.

What a great conversation.

SHOW NOTES

WHAT BOOK YOU SHOULD READ?
Bryan and I are both deeply influenced by film. One filmmaker I bring up on the show is Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the notorious and deeply driven melodramatic auteur. I love his work, and I love this book of interviews with him, The Anarchy of the Imagination.

WHAT OTHER AEWCH EPISODE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO?
There are some deep parallels on this episode with themes touched on on AEWCH 149 featuring Carmen Maria Machado, although Carmen and I go at it in an entirely different way!

WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK INTO FURTHER?
I talked with Samuel Delaney about fiction, sexual identity, and philosophy years ago, before I had a podcast. Here’s the whole conversation! 

MORE ON BRYAN
Bryan’s website has a ton of links to his essays, including one we discuss on the episode, about the Montrose neighborhood in Houston. Memorial is being made into a TV show, and here’s a podcast featuring Bryan talking about it with poet and novelist Ocean Vuong. And here’s a video (one of several) of Bryan cooking and talking about food. Finally, here’s his essay on going to gay bars.

Until next time, friends, I suggest reading Memorial in the park on a sunny day like I did!
CH

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