Sasha Fletcher Interview

Sasha Fletcher is the author of the fantastic novel(la) WHEN ALL OUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED (Mud Luscious Press, 2010).

You can both buy and read an excerpt from the novel(la), here. Or you can win a copy by answering the question at the bottom of the interview.

BS: What is it like when you dream?

Sasha Fletcher: Honestly I don't really know. It's sort of like a fever I think. It's an awkward jumble of real life and worrying. I think. I don't really remember my dreams.

BS: WHEN ALL OUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED has the very noticeable feelings of sadness, worry, and uncertainty that feels like anxiety, but also discovery and ruin. How did you come up with the idea for the book? Did it start as a feeling or feelings?

SF: It started actually as the Lamination Colony piece WE ARE GOING TO GET PAID AND THEN WE WILL DRESS FOR THE WEATHER. I wrote about two other pieces like that one and then strung them together. Overall, the ideas came as feelings, and sometimes pictures.

BS: You mention a lot of people in the acknowledgments section. What were some of your influences?

SF: The acknowledgments section contains all the people who I forced to read over early versions of the book and give me notes. The influences for the book: I was reading VACATION by Deb Olin Unferth and also THE BATTLEFIELD WHERE THE MOON SAYS I LOVE YOU by Frank Stanford and I was reading the numbered stories in Shane Jones's I WILL UNFOLD YOU WITH MY HAIRY HANDS. I read some other things too, but those were the ones that kept showing me things I wanted to do.

BS: Do you like Blade Runner?

SF: I do! I got that new version but I haven't watched it yet. I am waiting for a rainy night, I think. Good lord do I like that movie.

BS: When did you start writing?

SF: When I started drawing, which was as soon as I could. But mostly, when I was in third grade. I broke my right wrist, and so I couldn't learn cursive with everyone else, and so I had to turn in book reports, and I think about halfway through I just started making up the books and the stories in them.

BS: What are you working on now?

SF: I am working on a bunch of poems that will be my thesis that will then be a book. They are mostly written in lines as opposed to prose, which is weird for me, but kind of exciting.

BS: One of my favorite lines in the novel(la) is “I wanted to wear you like a skin” (52). If you could wear someone like a skin who would it be?

SF: Damn that is a really good question.

BS: The ocean or outer space?

SF: The ocean.

BS: Did you play Super Nintendo games?

SF: I was not allowed a Super Nintendo, but at various times we rented a Nintendo 64 from Blockbuster. Mostly to play Mario Kart.

BS: What was your writing process for WHEN ALL OUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED like? Where were you when you wrote it? What is your intent in your use of language?

SF: The house I was living in from 2008-2009 in Philadelphia played a huge part in WHEN ALL OUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED and also a book of prose poems called EVERYTHING HERE IS OK. It was a strange space with a basement and a kitchen with a tin ceiling and a roof with a bench on it that had a view of the whole city. It took a while to be able to leave that space and I feel that since then it's been hard to root the work somewhere. Which has been interesting. The world ends a whole lot in the new stuff. Like all the time. Sometimes several times in one piece. I try at times to intend things with my language and to let the sound drive things when it can. Often my girlfriend points out that what I wrote makes very little sense and that it's great for me to think about that, but that if I could think of a way to do that and have it make sense, that'd be great too, and it is, because she is right. She probably edits almost everything I write at this point, and I'm the better for it.

BS: Do you think that sound driven pieces are better suited as flash and poetry?

SF: I think most things are better suited to what they are as opposed to what we want to make them into. I think, honestly, that the best works are marriages of sound and sense.

BS: What are you reading right now that you would recommend?

SF: Ben Mirov and Emily Pettit. I just finished 31 Poems 1988-2008 by Dean Young and some of those were fucking incredible. But mostly everyone should read anything they can by both Ben Mirov and Emily Pettit. And everyone should read VENTRILOQUISM by Prathna Lor and BOOK by Ken Sparling.

BS: What are you looking forward to?

SF: I am looking forward to Blake Butler's novel THERE IS NO YEAR. I am looking forward to THE CLOUD CORPORATION by Timothy Donnelly. Shane Jones just finished writing a new book and I really really wanna see it. I am probably most looking forward to DADDY'S by Lindsey Hunter and MUSEUM OF THE WEIRD by Amelia Gray.

BS: Did Internet journals change how you approached writing?

SF: Yes. Completely. I kept sending shit to Bear Parade and Gene Morgan would calmly and patiently tell me, submission and after submission, that this wasn't going to work out for me. But after the fourth or so, he told me I had some good poems and should send them around and he gave me a list of places that might like them. The guy is a goddam sweetheart. I don't know. The internet just opened up this world of people who seemed so much closer to me than, well, someone who'd gotten a book published. They were all trying to figure out or had figured out what sort of writer they were. It's exciting. I mean, sometimes it sucks and sometimes it seems you read the same piece over and over in every journal. But that's how journals work. But the point of this is that the Internet changed my approach to writing. I realized if I wanted to get into Bear Parade I had to think about what it was that I was trying to do and to sit down and do it. I read a book by Tao Lin with that Miranda July blurb that said he wrote out of boredom and confusion. I realized I was bored and confused pretty much all the time, and that to not write when I felt that would be a lie. It seemed really important and really interesting to try to write as a means of feeling something. Of feeling anything. Of writing of and through and into boredom and confusion. Also, yknow, happiness and awe and that sort of thing. Awe seems important. Anyway, doing that felt, and still feels, incredibly important. At least to try to do that.

BS: What excites you?

SF: Damn. My girlfriend. Dinner. People doing things well. Donald Barthelme. The way the sun comes in through the front windows of our apartment and just bathes over everything. Well-designed books. The way books smell. The way things taste when you really need them. Feelings. Books that make me feel things. Movies that make me feel things. Deadwood. The first season of Friday Night Lights. I'm still figuring out my feelings towards season 2. Bodies of water. Sitting in the sun. Playing Tennis. Cooking. Seeing my friends. Cheap drinks in New York City. Good art. The Phillies scoring nine runs in the seventh last night. Mostly I think I am pretty excitable.


Sasha and I are holding a contest. On page 52 of WHEN ALL OUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED is the line, “I wanted to wear you like a skin.” Leave a comment answering the question: if you could wear someone like a skin who would it be? And we'll choose our favorite answer/ response. The chosen favorite will be shipped a brand new copy of Fletcher's book. The winner will be announced on 9/17.


Michael Filippone said...

I would want to wear Oprah so I could give people things and make them cry.


Stephen Daniel Lewis said...

jennifer love hewitt maybe, i think tight fitting skin would be warmer

Richard said...

Anybody who is a fan of BLADE RUNNER is okay in my book. One of my favorite films. Ever. Love PKD, too.

I would wear the skin of my enemy, won in battle, wrapped tight around me, my jaw thrust outward, tears streaming down my face at the loss of this flickering inversion, this shadow of my desires, my hate and rage, my suffering. And I would thank this pile of sinew and organs for his scarred, slippery skin, thank him for the war, and the rebirth.

Dave Griffith said...

I would want to wear a taun-taun like frost-bitten Luke in Empire Strikes Back. I don't know why exactly, but I suspect it is because it represents a longing to return to the womb, but there's also some homoerotic shit going on in that scene, too, what with Han Solo stuffing his little buddy into that tuna noodle casserole looking orifice. It's just all really confusing and scary and yet appealing.

I should mention that I've been watching Pretty in Pink on repeat on the WE network for like 4 hours while I grade essays, and so I'm starting think that I would also like to, if it were possible and big enough, pull Molly Ringwald inside that taun-taun skin with me.

Anonymous said...

'There is a girl I know that I haven't seen in years, almost twenty years. Since the last time, she has slept in the desert, she has met famous photographers, she has lied to her friends about whether or not she is happy, and she always says she is happy. Since the last time, she's made it clear she is going to live for a long time. Sometimes she dead calls me just to know someone else is on the other end, staring at her drink, while her friends are celebrating another new year out on her balcony, and I am waiting for her to say something on the receiving end. Her favorite drink is whiskey neat.

The last time on the phone, I told her last night I wanted to wear you like skin, and she said she misses me too.'