Interview @ 42minutes

Here I talk to William Morgan and Douglass Bolles somewhat coherently about a variety of things. Thanks dudes!


Talking to Mary Austin Speaker @ OmniVerse

“…LW: The poems in the beginning of Ceremony, there’s gentility in the speaker’s regard of these masses of people living together. That seems new to me.

MAS: What do you mean by gentility?

LW: I guess there’s no implied vitriol. I never feel that the masses of people would do harm.

MAS: Most of the time I lived in New York I was constantly amazed by the civility of New Yorkers—as in, I can’t believe all these people aren’t murdering each other right now. You have to deal with quite a bit of adversity to live there. A friend of mine used to say it’s like being at the Olympics, all the time. Like just getting around.

LW: I find it exhausting.

MAS: It’s tremendously exhausting. The overwhelming civility of New Yorkers is extraordinary, given how hard people have to work there, just to be a person…but when you fall down, people help you get up. People will give you directions when you’re lost.

That said, there are certain codified behaviors that New Yorkers adopt in order to function together. Being on an escalator, for example. People who want to stand on the escalator stand to the right and people who want to walk on the escalator walk on the left. This is how it works. And when that system breaks down, people get frustrated. But that’s the main way you see people being angry in New York—when these little modes of behavior break down.

LW: You can imagine the repercussions should it become systemic.

MAS: Chaos! I guess there’s something that’s a little bit fascist about all of it—everyone has to behave the same way in order for all of us to get along. But I think there are certain ways in which that’s true.”




Y.N.T. @ Late Night Debut

Vanessa Veselka & Lidia Yuknavitch chose to discuss Yeah. No. Totally. for Late Night Debut, and I’m pretty much over the moon about it.

Here’s the show:

I admire Vanessa’s book Zazen very much (so do the folks at PEN:

and Lidia’s groundbreaking memoir, A Chronology of Water (so do the folks at PNBA:

They’ve been teaming up on other fronts including this great conversation on women and violence over at the Believer:

Thanks for reading!

xo — Lisa

In Conversation with Late Night Library

Today Michael Heald of Perfect Day publishing and I talk to Paul Martone of Late Night Library. We talk about the Portland reading scene, small press debuts, and avoiding each other in Nicaragua.

Talking to Eva Soto @ The Rearguard

“RG: I met you at Martha Grover’s book release last month, which was also published through Perfect Day. You were very supportive of her and so were most of the local authors who came to the event. Is it fair to assume that Portland is a very communal and supportive place for writers?

LW: Yeah. Whatever is happening here with writers is similar to what happens with indie rock, I think. It’s communal, slightly self-congratulatory, and yes, for the most part it’s supportive. I’d take this rather than the cutthroat feeling in other places. The stakes here are so low. You are not going to come here and make a million dollars or end up in Oprah, for example, so there’s a reason to be humble all the time, and that keeps people friendly. Also, Portland is such a small town that you want to maintain those relationships.”

I talk to Propeller Quarterly

“In this issue, we asked two debut writers to speak about how they made ends meet while working on their books. Lisa Wells’ first book, Yeah. No. Totally. (Perfect Day Publishing) came out in July. Paul Constant, reviewing the book in The Stranger, said of Wells’s prose, “Listen to this lively description of nature that would make Edward Abbey light up with an ear-to-ear grin: ‘In the insect-humming noon, coarse sage exploded from the earth.’ Or this brutal passage about the aftermath of a car crash: ‘He didn’t die in the road. He was wheeled to a white room made appropriate for dying. It goes on and on like this automatically.'” Wells answered a few questions about work via email between shifts, and had a patron snap the above photo.”