Anything can happen: anything. Or nothing. Who can say? The world, monstrous, is made that way, and in the end consumes us all. Who am I, administrated or no, to have the audacity to survive it?

— Brian Evenson

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In Kamby Bolongo Mean River damage and delusion walk hand in hand, and everything we think we know is gradually called into question. Reading like a cross between Samuel Beckett's 'The Calmative' and Gordon Lish's Dear Mr. Capote, Robert Lopez's new novel gets under your skin and latches on.

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Ideas for stories come in really different terms and really different ways for me. Sometimes they're from books, sometimes they're just kind of out of the air, from nowhere, sometimes they're biographical, or sometimes they're other things [everyday life].

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Julio's Day is a story of one man's life, but it's a great more than that as well. It's the story of the life of a century, also told as if a day. Beginning with Julio's birth in 1900 and ending with his death in 2000, the graphic novel touches on most of the major events that shaped the 20th century.

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I'm pretty instinctual when I write, and I really like to get to a point where I'm writing where I don't know what's going to happen next. Usually when I get to that point, something will happen that I find intriguing or interesting, or that will push the fiction in a way that I really like.

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I don't always know what's going to go on in terms of the mood of the story.

Sometimes I start with the mood, but sometimes I just try to work toward discovering it. But I do think often there's a mood or unsettling quality, in which the reality of the world seems to be taken away, that I really love, and it's something that I almost always unconsciously move toward.

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When I say I'm instinctive [in writing], I do feel like I need to hide what I'm doing from myself. My mind just needs to be able to operate untrammeled.

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I read individual stories a lot in magazines and other places, too, but I really think there's something to be said for reading story collections as collections. That's not true of all story collections, to be honest, but for good ones I think it often is true.

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One of the primary differences for me between fiction and poetry is that fiction uses every sort of tool that poetry does but hides it much, much more. Fiction doesn't necessarily reveal what it's doing with rhythm and sound and patterning.

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I don't think that writing, real writing, has much to do with affirming belief--if anything it causes rifts and gaps in belief which make belief more complex and more textured, more real. Good writing unsettles, destroys both the author and the reader. From my perspective, there always has to be a tension between the writer and the monolithic elements of the culture, such as religion.

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Truth cannot be imparted, it must be inflicted.

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Any time I put together a story collection, I don't know what it's going to look like overall - or even what the title story is going to be. Over time, I end up with a dozen or so stories, and I start to see a shape to them, how they fit together, and then I write stories that complement or extend that shape.

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There is, in every event, whether lived or told, always a hole or a gap, often more than one. If we allow ourselves to get caught in it, we find it opening onto a void that, once we have slipped into it, we can never escape.

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About Brian Evenson

Quotes 15 sayings
Profession Writer
Birthday August 12, 1966

Philosophy does provide me a structure and a way of thinking.

Religion - like the religion I grew up with, Mormonism - also provides a way of thinking. And I think those two structures - one highly logical, the other anything but - are always part of my thought process as I'm putting together a story.

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Misreading is a big part of reading, the way in which the level of attention you're paying can lead to some interesting residue.

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