Ten Minutes with Lydia Millet

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Lydia Millet Lydia Millet

Last week I had the pleasure of asking Lydia Millet a few questions about her work, her influences, and her writing process. Lydia Millet is an award-winning novelist, essayist, and a staff writer for the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, Arizona, where she lives. Millet’s novel “My Happy Life” was awarded the PEN-USA Award for Fiction and her short story collection, “Love in Infant Monkeys,” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Millet’s novels and stories are darkly humorous, witty, and suffuse in an awareness of ecology and of her characters’ places within it. She also writes opinion pieces on conservation and wildlife for The New York Times. If you have not had the opportunity to read her work, you can change that today and also mark your calendars for this May, when her newest novel, “Sweet Lamb of Heaven” will be released.

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I first discovered…

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Interview with Alexandra Kleeman

I had a fun interview with Alexandra Kleeman last month.

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I think that because women are so much more self-perceptive there is a sort of distance from yourself that can form as a result; you’re always checking yourself to see if you’re looking right and acting right and thinking the right thing.

When I first heard word of Alexandra Kleeman’s debut novel, You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine, the review came with the urgent recommendation that I should pick up a copy as quickly as possible. I expected that the novel would delve into the array of ways in which a woman’s body is monetized and desired, but, in fact, the book that I read blew apart my expectations. The book’s central character, a young woman whom the author refers to as A, is stagnating in her job, her apartment, and her relationship within an unnamed American city. A’s roommate, B, is obsessed with A and…

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Six Million Dollar Woman

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Marcia believed she could be on the verge of winning a role in which she might have an “Oscar moment.”

#SisterBitch

In the roles she was best known for, Marcia Hammond had played difficult women.

She had trained at Juilliard and she knew how to craft a facial reaction, taking it from what they called “zero” to “fifty” in under five seconds (a remarkable time), but because doing so correlated negatively to her physical beauty, Marcia had committed herself to the singularity of character acting.

She was not yet leading lady material, her agent told her one day that shortly followed her fortieth birthday. That is to say, she was not pretty enough to play the principle love interest, but if the right part came along, well, who knew?

A real-life role in which Marcia slayed was the late-night talk show circuit, primarily due to the good will generated by…

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Catching Up With Linda Hogan

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Portrait of Native American writer Linda Hogan. --- Image by © Christopher Felver/Corbis Image © Christopher Felver/Corbis

Linda Hogan is a celebrated poet, storyteller, academic, playwright, novelist, environmentalist, and a writer of short stories. Her novel, Mean Spirit, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She’s an NEA Fellowship recipient, a Guggenheim winner, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, and, most recently, the recipient of the 2016 Thoreau Prize from the PEN American Center. Linda is currently the Chickasaw Nation Writer in Residence.

I reached out to Linda after I attended a panel at AWP which featured Linda and Lidia Yuknavitch, another friend of PDXX Collective. Throughout their all-star panel discussion, I was moved by Linda’s strength, resilience, and humor, all of which carry over into her brilliant writing. I am honored to have the opportunity to present you with more of her words.

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Were you a writer from an early age? Can you describe your publishing process?

No, I wasn’t a writer…

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Influences and Imagination

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The voice was light, perhaps only a child’s voice, singing sweetly and thinly, on the barest breath. . .None of them heard it, she thought with joy; nobody heard it but me.

-From Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House

Two women are drawn to each other with suspicious speed at the start of The Haunting of Hill House. Theodora is an attractive, charming woman who tells Eleanor, the less social of the two, how much Theo adores her. Eleanor is beside herself with happiness in this oddest of places—a deranged old mansion.

Eleanor’s life before Hill House was hardly glamorous: she was a caretaker to her mother and, she says, was consumed by the role. Eleanor must steal her sister’s car order to even journey to the mansion where she will assist in a scientific investigation of paranormal activity. She drives away, deeply savoring the freedom of directing the vehicle down…

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Everyday Harassment

I wrote this piece on street harassment for PDXX Collective.

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Alone, a female body begs for correction.

I saw him halted on his tiny BMX bike in the middle of the sidewalk one beautiful Sunday morning while I was walking my dog. The man was in his twenties and seemed sober. Still, he waited there on the corner and watched a young woman cross Nostrand and continue down the street past him. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but I saw his mouth moving as his eyes glued themselves to her tense frame as she walked quickly past his bike. I stared at him and approached with my dog until I was a few feet away. He looked over his shoulder and saw the two of us. I was two-against-one, I thought; a predator could become my prey.

I can’t know what the man thought on this day, but I hoped that he felt some self-awareness of the ironic…

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