NATALIE SERBER ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Natalie Serber

 

Hi Everyone,

Welcome!

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is a podcast for the story nerds!

This is a podcast for aspiring writers who know that examining the components of a good story is the key to writing one. In each episode here, I interview a writer about one of their own stories, delving deeply into their choice of POV, plot, setting, and tone. The stories are available for listeners to read (below) before they listen to our discussion.

Today’s guest is Natalie Serber. We are discussing her story “Children are Magic” which was originally published in One Story Magazine and is a part of her upcoming short story collection.

You can read the story Children are Magic here.

Enjoy! Kelly

And our discussion available on Anchor here:

Note use of strong language and adult content.

or on Spotify here:

Transcripts of our discussion are available upon request.

If you have any additional questions for Natalie, or suggestions for future shows, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Natalie Serber is the author of a memoir about her experience with breast cancer entitled, Community Chest, and a story collection, Shout Her Lovely Name, New York Times Notable Book, and an O, the Oprah Magazine Summer Read. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her fiction has appeared in One Story, Zyzzyva Magazine, Hunger Mountain, The Bellingham Review, Gulf Coast, and othersEssays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, O, the Oprah Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Rumpus, and others. Currently at work on a novel with the working title, Must Be Nice, and a memoir entitled, Go Back to Sleep, you can visit her online at natalieserber.com and subscribe to her popular newsletter, read.write.eat.

News:

I’m including a donation button on my website these days because I am saving up for podcast equipment. If you’ve enjoyed the podcast but have noticed the audio quality is not always top-notch, it’s because I am dealing with old headphones and a free editing program. I am flying by the seat of my pants!

At the same time, as fellow writers, I’m sure you know how little we make in this business, so it will take me a while to save up for the equipment.

If you feel like donating, I would greatly appreciate it. Every little bit helps! Thanks!



SEJAL SHAH ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Sejal Shah

 

Hi Everyone,

Welcome!

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is a podcast for the story nerds!

This is a podcast for aspiring writers who know that examining the components of a good story is the key to writing one. In each episode here, I interview a writer about one of their own stories, delving deeply into their choice of POV, plot, setting, and tone. The stories are available for listeners to read (below) before they listen to our discussion.

Today’s guest is Sejal Shah. Her story “The Half King” is a part of her upcoming short story collection.

You can read the story online below.

Enjoy! Kelly

Story available here:

The Half King by Sejal Shah in The Literary Review

Discussion available here:

or on Spotify here:

Bio: Sejal Shah is a poet who works in prose, writing across genres and disciplines. She is the author of the award-winning debut essay collection, This Is One Way to Dance (University of Georgia Press, 2020). Her stories and essays have appeared in The Guardian, Brevity, Conjunctions, Guernica, the Kenyon Review, Literary Hub, Longreads, and The Rumpus. The recipient of a 2018 New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in fiction, Sejal recently completed a story collection with images; her newer writing is about friendship, school, and mental health. She lives in Rochester, New York.

Sejal’s book is available here on Bookshop and here on Amazon.

News:

I’m including a donation button on my website these days because I am saving up for podcast equipment. If you’ve enjoyed the podcast but have noticed the audio quality is not always top-notch, it’s because I am dealing with old headphones and a free editing program. I am flying by the seat of my pants!

At the same time, as fellow writers, I’m sure you know how little we make in this business, so it will take me a while to save up for the equipment.

If you feel like donating, I would greatly appreciate it. Every little bit helps! Thanks!



CLIFFORD GARSTANG ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”


Cliff Garstang

 

Hi Everyone,

Welcome!

“Let’s Deconstruct a Story” is a podcast for the story nerds!

This is a podcast for aspiring writers who know that examining the components of a good story is the key to writing one. In each episode here, I interview a writer about one of their own stories, delving deeply into their choice of POV, plot, setting, and tone. The stories are available for listeners to read (below) before they listen to our discussion.

You can read the story online or you can download the PDF below.

Enjoy! Kelly

Stories available here:

Lost in Translation Online Here

Lost in Translation by Clifford Garstang

Listen to our discussion below. Please contact me if you need it transcribed.

 

Or on Spotify here:

Bio:

Clifford Garstang is the author of the novels Oliver’s Travels and The Shaman of Turtle Valley, a novel in stories, What the Zhang Boys Know, winner of the Library of Virginia Literary Award for Fiction, and two short story collections, In an Uncharted Country and House of the Ancients. He is also the co-founder and former editor of Prime Number Magazine and the editor of the anthology series Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet. A former international lawyer, he now lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

In other news:

Natalie Serber and I are collaborating on a workshop based on her story “Children are Magic,” which was published in One Story. The first part of the workshop will be a roundtable discussion with participants about the story (in the vein of “Let’s Deconstruct a Story”). The second hour will include a writing prompt based on the story and time to share our work. Hope you will consider joining us for this fun event. Here’s the link to register.

Also, I’m including a donation button on my website these days because I am saving up for podcast equipment. If you’ve enjoyed the podcast but have noticed the audio quality is not always top-notch, it’s because I am dealing with old headphones and a free editing program. I am flying by the seat of my pants!

At the same time, as fellow writers, I’m sure you know how little we make in this business, so it will take me a while to save up for the equipment.

If you feel like donating, I would greatly appreciate it. Any little bit helps! Thanks!



 

SUSAN PERABO ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

Hi Everyone,

I’m thrilled to host the acclaimed short story writer, Susan Perabo, on the blog today. “Why They Run the Way They Do” is one of my all-time favorite short story collections!

As usual, please read the story posted below before listening to our discussion.

Also please send me reading recommendations! I’m always looking for good short stories.

All the best,

Kelly

Susan’s story available here:

This Is Not That Story in The Sun

This Is Not That Story PDF

 

Our discussion of “This Is Not That Story”:

On Anchor:

Or on Spotify here!

And here is a rough transcript of our discussion brought to you by the dictation service at Microsoft Word:

Susan Perabo and Kelly Fordon transcript

 

 

 

 

Susan Perabo

 

Bio: Susan Perabo’s most recent books are The Fall of Lisa Bellow (2017) and Why They Run the Way They Do (2016), both from Simon & SchusterHer fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize Stories, andNew Stories from the South, and her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in numerous publications, including One Story, Glimmer TrainStory, The New York TimesThe Sun, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Her work has been featured on the podcasts Modern Love and Selected Shorts. She is a professor creative writing at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.

Why They Run the Way They Do: Stories and The Fall of Lisa Bellow are available at Bookshop and Amazon.

In Other News:

I am hoping some readers will help support this worthy cause! I love Inside Out Literary Arts in Detroit 🙂 I’m writing in support of them, and I will send anyone who donates $100 an original poem 🙂 You can even send me three words you’d like included in the poem!

ESPERANZA CINTRON ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

 

Today on the blog, Esperanza Cintrón and I will be talking about her story, “The Beard” from her award-winning Wayne State University Press collection, Shades, Detroit Love Stories, which was chosen as a 2019 Michigan Notable Book.

It’s best to read the story before listening to our discussion so we don’t spoil the ending for you.

 

Just click on this link for the full story, “The Beard,” here.

 

I hope you enjoy our discussion of “The Beard” below! Or directly on Spotify here.

 

 

Bio: Esperanza Cintrón is the author of Shades, Detroit Love Stories, a collection of interconnected short stories published by Wayne State University Press (2019) and selected as a 2020 Michigan Notable Book and a finalist in the 2020 Midwest Book Awards.  Her three books of poetry include: Visions of a Post-Apocalyptic Sunrise (Stockport Flats Press, 2014), the 2013 Naomi Long Madgett Award winner What Keeps Me Sane (Lotus Press, 2013) and Chocolate City Latina (Swank Press, 2005). Boulders, Detroit Nature Poems won first honorable mention (2021) and will soon be published by Finishing Line Press. Her work is anthologized in Manteca! An Anthology of Afro-Latin@ PoetsOf Burgers & BarroomsAbandoned AutomobileDouble Stitch: Black Women Write About Mothers & DaughtersErotique Noire/Black Erotica and others. She has been awarded a Michigan Council for the Arts Individual Artist Grant, a Metro Times Poetry Prize, Callaloo Creative Writing Fellowships at Oxford and Brown Universities and a National Endowment for the Humanities scholarship. A native Detroiter, she is co-founder of The Sisters of Color Writers Collective and creator of its literary journal Seeds for which she served as Editor until 2006. Cintrón holds a doctorate in English Literature and teaches writing, film and literature at WCCCD in Downtown Detroit.

 

Shades, Detroit Love Stories is available for purchase from Wayne State University Press, Bookshop, and Amazon.

In other news:

Check out Robin Luce Martin’s fantastic story, “Through the Hole,” on Pendust Radio.

I am reading at the Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle on Wednesday, June 23rd at 7pm and there is an open mic event following my reading, so please think about attending and reading your own work as well!

Here’s the link to sign up.

JOHN MCNALLY ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”

ON “LET’S DECONSTRUCT A STORY”
John McNally
Hi Everyone,
I know it’s been a while since my last post but you know how life goes by…especially during the pandemic.
It feels like one day has passed but it’s been three months.
Or is it that three months have passed in the space of a day?
Or is that a different way of saying the same thing?
If you, like me, are having trouble grasping paradoxes that would not have troubled your pre-Covid-era brain, then I’m sorry, but I am sending one more your way, and I hope it doesn’t cause your brain to implode.
“The Phone Call” by John McNally, is a story that will deposit you deep in a closed timeline curve and though it is quite a trip, I have faith that you will make it back to reality in one piece.
In fact, I think you will find it quite enjoyable.
As a bonus, after you’ve read John’s story and watched our video, please loopback (!) and check out this video on time travel/time loops that I happened on by Vi Hart, which completely blew my already addled mind.
Here’s a refresher on #letsdeconstructastory because I have not posted anything new since December 1st:
#letsdeconstructastory is all about unpacking short stories to see how they work on a cellular level. It’s a place for writers to geek out about the work of other writers and hopefully add some new tools to their own toolbox.
Here’s how it works:
1.  Please read the story here first.
2. Listen to our discussion
CHECK OUT OUR OTHER EPISODES ON SPOTIFY here.

Biography:

John McNally is the author or editor of eighteen books, including The Fear of Everything: Stories, The Book of Ralph: A Novel, and The Boy Who Really, Really Wanted to Have Sex: The Memoir of a Fat Kid. His craft book Vivid and Continuous has been adopted in many college creative writing courses. He has also had screenplays optioned and in-development and his work for a Norwegian film company in 2019 took him to Norway’s Arctic Circle for research. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, John is Writer-in-Residence and the Dr. Doris Meriwether/BORSF Professor in English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He is presently writing a thriller set in Thailand, where he plans to retire.
Buy the book:
John’s book is available for purchase: On Bookshop here or The University of Louisiana Press here or Amazon here.
Also! George Saunders has a new book out about deconstructing stories called “A Swim in a Pond in the Rain“:

“One of the ideas in the book is that, when we read a story, we read with the same mind we use to read the world. So, concentrating on a story and the way we’re responding to it can tell us a lot about ourselves. I’ve found it so pleasurable and clarifying to tune out everything but that one story, those specific lines. Reading a story is, really, an exercise in believing that other people exist and are valid—the writer of the story, but also those fictive people. We get to practice caring about some people we don’t know—good practice for real life.”

—George Saunders

BILL HARRIS

harris picture

Bill Harris, Art by Nicole Macdonald from her Detroit Portrait Series

Today on the blog, Bill Harris and I will be talking about his story, “That First Year the Business Was Wood,” from his award-winning Wayne State University Press collection, I Got to Keep Moving.

Bill Harris is a Wayne State University emeritus professor of English. He is a playwright, poet, and arts critic. His plays have been produced nationwide and he has published books of plays, poetry, and reappraisals of American history. He received the 2011 Kresge Foundation Eminent Artist award. http://www.billharriswrites.com.

It’s best to read the story before listening to our discussion so we don’t spoil the ending for you. Just click on this link below:

That First Year the Business Was Wood from I GOT TO KEEP MOVING

 

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i-got-keep-moving-103670

 

“I Got to Keep Moving” is available from Pages Bookshop here or Wayne State University Press here or Bookshop here or Amazon here.

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I plan to continue discussing stories through the fall. Please let me know if you have a new book of short stories out so we can talk about it!

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I HAVE THE ANSWER: MARKETING HELP NEEDED! 

I Have the Answer has been out since April 11th. It was hard to market or even think about a new book this past spring, and if you are so inclined, I would love your help.

There are two main ways:

  1. Write a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Reviews at these places make a big difference and help drive sales. My hope is that people read the reviews and then purchase the book from their local indie bookstore like Pages Bookshop in Detroit!
  2. If you have already read and enjoyed the book, please let your friends know on social media with either a picture or just a suggestion that they might want to buy the book. Here’s a link to WSUPress for more information: https://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/i-have-answer Please use the hashtag with #IHAVETHEANSWER and please tag @WSUPress and @kfor24. 

 

I recorded a podcast last week for Without Books and if you haven’t heard of them, I highly recommend the short messages they record by authors reminding us all about the importance of books.

Stay safe and well.

Love,

Kelly

 

Second Audio Clip: I HAVE THE ANSWER

When I have the Answer but

Hi Everyone,

I’m happy to share my second audio clip from I Have the Answer, recorded by the phenomenal audiobook narrator, Denice Stradling. Here’s a link to her website for more information. I highly recommend her services to any other writers out there!

The story Denice is reading from is called “The Devil’s Proof” and is a fictional story about a sexual assault that takes place in Washington, D.C. during the 1980s. I wrote about the true story of what happened to me in River Teeth and that essay is coming out next month. This story is quite different from the true story, but features the same basic elements of fear and shame, which have dogged me ever since.

Also, the story features many of the same locations from my youth, chief among them Georgetown, where I lived, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School where I attended high school, and Georgetown University, which was a frequent destination.

The other aspect of this fictional story that is technically true is that my father graduated from Georgetown University in 1949 and Bill Blatty, who wrote The Exorcist graduated in 1950. According to my father (and many other sources) Bill Blatty based “The Exorcist” on a story one of his religion professors told him about a supposedly “real-life” exorcism. My father was in Billy Blatty’s religion class and heard the story first-hand as well.

Here’s a link to the true story

And now without further adieu, Denice Stradling reading from “The Devil’s Proof”:

OTHER NEWS:

Tomorrow night, Wednesday, April 22nd, I will be reading online and answering questions at an online book launch via the Grosse Pointe Library. It’s free and you can register here.

This week, I posted a list of recommended reading via Electric Literature. They thought I lived in a flyover state, and, quite frankly, until I researched it, so did I 🙂 

You can buy a copy of I Have the Answer from Pages Bookshop in Detroit or Wayne State University Press or Bookshop(if you want to support local bookstores) or Amazon.

Stay safe and well, everyone! Thank you for reading!