What are you reading on the subway or in the waiting room today?
City of Weird: 30 Otherworldly Portland Tales, edited by Gigi Little. Surreal, fabulist and otherwise spooky stories by Portland authors.
What book popped for you in 2015?
Lidia Yuknavitch’s novel, The Small Backs of Children, came out in 2015, and that’s an exciting book, though I was fortunate to read it while it was in process, so I’d read variations in earlier years.
I read Green Girl, by Kate Zambreno, in 2015, and that’s an exciting creature of a work.
Whose words do you return to regularly?
I was listening to early Liz Phair today, and remembering how much I loved the narratives of her songs when I first heard them. That sent me back to the stories I read when I first started writing–Susan Minot, Amy Hempel–and the poems of Anne Sexton. I’d say those are voices I return to, when I want a boost, along with Sheman Alexie, George Saunders and the short stories of Octavia Butler. And then Cheever too, really. He’s not as conventional as one might think, and he’s inspiring. It’s all writing that feels so alive.
Is there an author you can’t wait to read next?
I can’t wait for Roxane Gay’s memoir, Hunger.
What are you working on now? What can VIDA fans look forward to from you next?
I’m working on an essay collection and a novel right now. Thank you for asking!
MONICA DRAKE is the author of Clown Girl (Hawthorne Books) The Stud Book (Hogarth) and most recently a collection of linked stories set in Portland, Oregon, The Folly of Loving Life (Future Tense Books). She’s faculty at the Pacific Northwest College of Art where she has designed and launched an arts-based BFA in Writing.