Wednesday Mar 21

MarchAnna Anna March is a writer from DC who now makes Rehoboth Beach, DE her home. Her work has appeared in Salon, PANK,  and other publications. Her novel, "The Diary of Suzanne Frank", is forthcoming. 

Anna March interview with Meg Tuite
Both of your flash pieces are provocative, poetic and told by a first-person narrator who definitely lives on the edge. Tell us more about them?

Both narrator's are struggling, grieving, questioning.   The 21-year old in Summer Heats is using her sexuality to fill a void that can't be filled. She isn't ready -- yet -- to sit with loss, uncertainty, sadness.  

The woman in the second piece, Crossroads, is older, wiser, more comfortable with life's ambiguities and more comfortable in her own skin.  She's striving to create art and do good in the world as an outgrowth of all that's she learned and is learning. The first narrator is numbing herself. The second narrator wants to feel everything. The second narrator has had a lot of therapy....and thought A LOT about creating art and wrestling language.  The second narrator understands that art is, for some of us, a life raft on which to ride through the storms.

Are these two stories connected in any way?

Hmmmm.  Well, I wrote them 10 years apart...but yes....they are in the sense that when I wrote the Crossroads piece, I immediately knew that it was linked to Summer Heats.  It was like the 21-year old had come back in a later, better form and wanted to speak again.  Both pieces are, on some level, about risks -- taking them and not taking them, yes -- but also about decisions that don't seem like risks but really are and vice versa.   

I'm writing a novel now -- The Diary of Suzanne Frank -- about a 16-year-old girl, her sex life and her development as a writer.  In some ways, I think of Suzanne as a reincarnation of the women in these two stories.  Suzanne isn't these women -- but she carries the lessons from their lives unconsciously in her.  Suzanne has incredible sensibilities and is just an awesome young woman and it's partly because of the women who have gone before her in the world. And yet she struggles in a world that condemns women's sexuality so harshly and STILL ghettoizes women's writing in so many ways.   

What are you reading at this time?

Among the writers in the stacks I'm currently devouring and re-devouring:  Tayari Jones. Ben Tanzer. Cheryl Strayed. Robin Black. Elissa Schappell. Vladimir Nabokov. Anne Frank.  Francine Prose.  Lance Olsen. Lev Grossman.  Lidia Yuknavitch. Thaisa Frank. Lila Azam Zanganeh.  Corneilus Eady. Jonathan Evison.

Who have been some major influences in your writing career?

Soooo many.......James Baldwin. Richard Russo.  John Irving.  Ann Beattie.  Tillie Olsen.  Zora Neale Hurston. Ray Carver.  Daphne Merkin.  Lois Lowry.   Alice Walker.  Marie Howe.  Jack Gilbert.  Dai Saijie. Bob Dylan. Ellen Gilchrist.  Quincy Troupe.  Faulkner.  Faulkner.  Faulkner.  

I keep a little note on my computer that says:  "Where's the heart?" -- that's from Michael Stearns.   The other note I keep there says:  "Does it hurt yet?" -- that's from Pam Houston.  Those two questions guide me.

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