Flumes Volume 2: Issue 1, Summer 2017 - Page 77

DA: I was trying to think, and it’s not something in my consciousness. It always seemed to me that there was so much to do, that I had to run at high intensity. I had to really flat out make for the hills… that kind of power and risk was inherent in the work I did. These days I get a little worried when I do meet the young people encouraging what actually has caused me a lot of difficulties… but I don’t know any other way to articulate that kind of a foray.

JGH: I relate to you so much. I don’t think you have to worry though. I don’t think you have to encourage it in the people who want to do this kind of work. I don’t think the people that I’ve shared your work with that relate to it… I think that it’s already in them. I think they just kind of find that.

DA: But it doesn’t have to be self-destructive. We love to confuse our passion with the kind of strident confrontation that causes us to self-destruct.

JGH: Well, that’s what we have been told in stories though, right? Is that, when you have too much passion, you’re going to destroy yourself.

DA:Well, yeah. You were talking about Flannery O’Connor, right? Well if you never heard Flannery O’Connor speak or looked at some audio tapes of her at University of Chicago, she was not a strident person. She was actually very, very soft spoken, and she had a really sneaky sense of humor. It was a very low key presentation; it was like she would put land mines in your head because some of the things she would say and the language she would use you wouldn’t realize until later... it would pop up in the middle of the night and it was like, wait a minute.


DA:That’s what I find with all the books and the stories that I love: a new perspective … you were talking about interviewing a woman poet, a Sikh

young woman. I have no doubt that she knows things that I don’t know. I don’t know anything about her community, the religion, or her life, and that is tremendously exciting. I always tell baby writers that the thing you have is your experience. That’s your gold, and you will spend your gold, and it will come back to you in ways of greater gold and insight.