Thursday, September 8, 2011

Indie Spotlight - Rae Bryant

 Rae Bryant believes in writing about the things most people would prefer to shy away from. Her newly released collection of short stories, The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals, which deals heavily with magic realism, surrealism, satire and postfeminism, was nominated for the Pen Hemingway award.

No stranger to writing and publishing, Rae's short stories have appeared in BLIP Magazine (formerly Mississippi Review), Opium Magazine, and PANK, among others. She is also the founding editor of Moon Milk Review, a nonprofit print and online literary and arts journal.

Rae joins us on TNBBC today to discuss why she writes about sex and violence, why she enjoys experimental writing, and how being a woman, wife, and mother is affected by these choices:

 "I should state, first, that it seems sex and violence for some writers are the bad or taboo or closeted things in other people’s narratives. It is a literary conceit, I think, this notion that serious literary writers should disengage with the “sex” and the “violence.” 

"Imagine the words whispered like unmentionables around the MFA workshop table. Writers who do engage directly with sex or violence or alternative forms are often termed the “others” or sometimes the Experimentalists, sometimes a dirty connotation in and of itself. And it is true, sex and violence and Postmodern structures can have different voices in narratives than say the conventional love affair as told from first person or the man walking his dog through life in third person or a retro landscape of a US town gone to ashes, but I like the different. 

"It is what makes the written word necessary for me. I can engage with conventions in real time. When I immerse in a story, I want to be taken to a place where I must engage creatively and rigorously with the work. I want to face and question my sense of convention and morality. And don’t get me wrong. I enjoy and seek more simplistic and realistic narratives. It is a style I sometimes prefer writing when the story requires it, but for me, the “other,” the edge, isn’t an optional engagement. It is ingrained, a way of organic crafting for me.

"I must admit. I do have a twisted sense of creativity. I blame Swift, mostly. Fell in love with “A Modest Proposal” at an early age, works by Woolf, Poe, any mythology I could get my hands on, and so the “other” has been imprinted on me. As a result, I often consider how normal scenarios would smell and taste and sound in a strange land, with a bent perspective. 

"My one standard is language. I like attention to language. I want unrelenting rigor and music, and I’m not afraid of fusions. Prose and poetry combined is a beautiful experience, albeit reading or writing. It disappoints me when readers and/or writers limit themselves to only one or the other to the detriment of a fuller exploration.

"And the female question? The mother, wife question? Should it matter in the realm of creative properties?

"Chaucer, Swift, Nabokov, O’Connor, Oates, Vonnegut, Woolf, Williams, Gaitskill, McCarthy... A small sampling of authors who pushed or push edges with an elegance and wit beyond me, and their works stay with me each time I sit with a book or pen in hand. Each time I return to them, I learn a little more about the writer I want to be. "

Her book, The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals , is a "visceral collection of stories that explores the wits, moralities, edges and sometimes broken realities of lovers and friends, life and death, and the mundane tragedies in a normal day. From detachable women to cow tipping, kingfishers to drive-thru sex, Bryant pushes the boundaries and creates for her readers the amusing, the heartbreaking and the magically bizarre conditions of woman and man." - Book description from

You can find out more about Rae by visiting her website, "liking" her on Facebook,  and following her on Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment