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"Nope, cut, too precious, boring, get on with it, delete."
August 01, 2014
Interviews with our 2014 Contest Winners
Winner of the Felice Buckvar Prize for Nonfiction for "Forty-One Months"
"I was always struck by the commonalities and the universals, surprised by how frequently familiar life in Lesotho could be, despite how different my position was from many Basotho. 'Forty-One Months' comes from a book in progress about the Kingdom of Lesotho, and it is perhaps unrepresentative of the book as a whole, at least tonally. This is a sad story, but so many more of the stories in the book are joyful and celebratory. My experience of Lesotho is that of a place where people are forever attempting to reach out, to welcome and include, and to bridge those divides that do exist."
(The subject line for this email—“Nope, cut, too precious, boring, get on with it, delete”— is also a quote from Will's interview.)
Laurie Clements Lambeth
Winner of the Marica and Jan Vilcek Prize for Poetry for "Chronic Care: 'Broken Leg' by Keith Carter, Photograph"
"I began writing 'Chronic Care' after receiving some physical and occupational therapy for a multiple sclerosis exacerbation. Both my left arm and leg were weak, and my left hand had lost dexterity. Typing was nearly impossible. The leg had been an issue for months and months, but when I couldn’t type, it became a problem. Each day’s session began with a therapist asking, as they are supposed to, “Are you in pain?” I thought, pain isn’t the issue. These appendages just don’t work. The occupational therapist, who handles upper-body issues, originally created sensory exercises because she thought my hand was numb. It wasn’t numb; it just didn’t do what I asked it to, but she imagined it differently. All of this reminded me of how little we can know each other’s physical sensations or pain, a dynamic that’s all the greater between an animal and a human—hence, the deer. I put those words, 'Are you in pain,' in the voice of the faceless girl, whose blurred face and hands perhaps suggest how patients perceive some caregivers, especially when those caregivers are only in the patients’ lives for an hour or two."
Winner of the Goldenberg Prize for Fiction for "Pediatricology"
"While I occasionally begin a story with a set structure in mind, more often the structure develops alongside the story. This latter approach was true for 'Pediatricology,' although structure became one of the main elements I focused on during the revision process. (The story became less and less rooted in a traditional narrative timeline with each draft.)
"I always need to remind myself to keep my eyes open to the physical world of my stories. I’m always trying to get that type of concrete, material description to be more elemental and less of an afterthought."