Much of the writing I do about the female body is to remind women, myself included, that they make life and they make death. That strikes me as a far more powerful stance than the weak lies told about mothering.— Samantha Hunt
The most gorgeous Samantha Hunt quotes you will be delighted to read
Film maker Andi Olsen has a wonderful short film called Where the Smiling Ends.
She waited at the Trevi Fountain in Rome and filmed the tourists only at the moment after their photos had been snapped, the moment their smiles dissolved. It's genius and heartbreaking. I think about her film when I explore the places the strips malls meet the wild world they are eating up.
Discourse about motherhood is chillingly narrow-minded.
It's a tool the patriarchy uses, of course. So people complain about their kids or they complain about the pain of birth or they make motherhood kitschy, Mother's Day-y.
One night as I girl I spied my grandma and one of her sisters outside, holding hands and singing, "Sprites of the night are we, are we. Singing and dancing joyfully." It was witchy and wonderful because it meant there was power in joy. They were not afraid of the night because they were giggling. I am very interested in finding the surprising boundaries, for instance, where do joy and fear meet?
Wait," I say. "I think you're mistaken. Saying there is no dream is the same as saying everything is a dream. Isn't it? Everyone's a dreamer? Extraordinary things happen all the time even when we're awake. What I meant to suggest to you, if indeed that was me in your dream doing the suggesting, is that there is only one world. This one. The dream is real. The ordinary is the wonderful. The wonderful is the ordinary.
I would like to give you more of my heart,but there is nothing more I can give you. I gave you everything and you crushed it into bits.
The lion's share of my work is revision, 85%? I revise forever, combing over lines, listening and listening to them in different hours and moods so that I feel they are finally right for me.
John Faulkner's As I Lay Dying is very important to me as an influence.
When I didn't know how to start Mr. Splitfoot, I just wrote the first line of As I Lay Dying instead and then continued on. It's dissolved in the text now, but it helped me start.
There's definitely a voice and I always speak my work aloud.
I have a lot of old people in my head, most of them dead now, but I always hear how they would say things, my grandparents and my neighbors.
I became a writer because I am the youngest of six children.
I listen; I observe. I'm camouflaged as a moth. Mothers are unseen. It helps me write.
As a writer I feel more like a filter than a performer.
I absorb and observe and then I name scatterings of stars into constellations. I don't usually spend time asking whether the stars are random or planned. I make a narrative in the darkness, the area subscribed by an outline of bright points. Sometimes they look like Ursa Minor, and sometimes they just looks like one day the world exploded.
I'll just tell you what I remember because memory is as close as I've gotten to building my own time machine.
There is nothing more important to our survival, nothing more dignified than learning how to take care of others, how to serve and teach people with kindness and openness. Mothers are experts in these fields. I hope people can learn to listen to them, learn to be like them and acknowledge the wisdom there before it is too late. I hope people can learn how to serve others.
In writing I found a way to make silence and to be silent.
The short story has a lot more silence than the novel and that is its success.
I am a toggler. I always have three or four projects going, short stories alongside novels and essays. When one project is terrible, there's somewhere else hopeful to look.
The Dark Dark is a far slower project, clearly, and that's a relief.
I look for slowness anywhere I can find it.
I think I write mostly about death and so it is interesting to hear how often people think I'm writing about pregnancy and birth. Though of course they are two sides of the same coin. Both when I was pregnant and now as a mother, I am consumed with thoughts of death. This is a strange role in parenting. The death guardian.
I live with deer and coyotes. Lyme ticks are a daily concern and mystery, but, yes, what do they mean? I don't know yet. But I'd rather point out the abundance of mystery than pretend to solve it. As if I could solve it! What does a deer mean? Who knows? Everything!
I am very bad at remembering the books I've read and so recently I had a wonderful experience. I decided I wanted to teach Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. I hadn't read it in twenty-five years. I was surprised to find how much I drew from that book. Stole from that book, learned from that book about writing. I had forgotten and there it was. Morrison has called that text faulted. I cannot see how.
There's a voice when I write. I speak everything aloud. My family is so accustomed to me talking to myself that often times they don't answer me when I am trying to speak to one of them.
I like the night. I like a slight terror to remind me how precious life is. Like I was sleeping with my smallest child and there were crazy coyotes howling outside. I knew how lucky I was to have her near me.
One book that has meant much to my writing is W.
G. Sebald's The Emigrants. He uses a photograph of Vladimir Nabokov hunting butterflies in a similar way. The image or a reference to the image is traced throughout the four separate narratives. It sometimes seems to be the only link between the pieces, while the symbol Nabokov cuts remains wide open, a pencil sketch, a mystery to interpret outside his role as emigrant/observer.
When I was learning to write I was surrounded by poets;
Brian Blanchfield and Annie Guthrie were always with me as I was learning. I'm so grateful for the poets in my life. Because of them I always knew the importance of each word, line.
My father thought a novel was a broken short story.
There's something to that. Many of my favorite novels are novellas. The authors of brief things must reckon with the precision of language.
I am surprisingly optimistic, though lately that's been hard to maintain.
Art and slow, small, close gestures help remind me of my optimism.