From “(Mis)Adventures in Poetry” by D.A. Powell in The Writer’s Notebook: Craft Essays from Tin House. Tin House Books: 2009.
Showing posts tagged tin house
Jill: How did you decide to make Quinn and her sister synesthetic? Are you?
Zumas: I’m not. Well, I didn’t think that I was at all, but I discovered as I started researching synesthesia that I could maybe be said to have a very mild form of it. Ever since I learned numbers and letters I experience them as having genders. It’s the same with months of the year and days of the week. The way they’re organized in my mind is coded by gender. Which, again, is not exactly synesthetic, because it’s not two different sensory perceptions. But it is a way of organizing information that feels inherent to the thing. It’s not like, “Oh, I decided to make Tuesday a girl.” I always just believed that that’s what it was, and it couldn’t be separated.
But most synesthetic people have a more pronounced mixing or a collapsing of the wall between color and sound or smell and sight. It’s something I’m interested in as it surfaces in language, how we have a lot of ways of describing one sensation. We can only describe it with another sensory vein, such as smell. Most of our words for smell are actually related to the four other senses, because it’s so hard to explain to someone what something smells like. We say something smells sharp or bitter or loud.
There was that interest, but I wanted the sisters, the remaining one and the lost one, to have shared this bond, this special way of being in the world. And synesthesia does run in families — their father has it and they have it, but the mother and brother don’t have it.
It became another signal of or marker of Quinn’s apartness, her difficulty in being in the world.
—From the Powells.com interview with Leni Zumas, author of The Listeners
We’re ridiculously excited about our upcoming Indiespensable, Volume 33: The Listeners by Leni Zumas. You’ll get an exclusive hardcover edition, signed by the author (with an octopus embossed on the cover, which might be the best cover ever), plus a whole lot more goodies.
Tin House Books and Hawthorne Books are two of our favorite Portland literary presses. For a limited time, save 30% on our selection of their best titles — you’ll be supporting local independent publishing and picking up some extraordinary reads in one fell swoop.
Katie Arnold-Ratliff’s debut novel Bright before Us is an exquisitely written, masterfully haunting story of a life unraveling. Francis is a 25-year-old second-grade teacher in San Francisco, living in the poverty of young adulthood with his wife and a baby on the way. During a moment of inattention on a coastal field trip, his students discover something horrifying — a mutilated body washed up onshore. Seeing the body triggers a reaction in Francis that Arnold-Ratliff chronicles in alternating stories from the present and the past, and his world begins to disintegrate around him.
We love this book. Loooooove it.
Read our interview with Arnold-Ratliff and learn about the signed, limited hardcover edition (the book is being published as a paperback original) we’re featuring in our subscription club, Indiespensable.
Powell’s announces Indiespensable 26!!! Bright before Us by Katie Arnold-Ratliff. Once again, Powell’s has given me something I’m completely unaware of to look forward to!
We’re pretty psyched about this one, too. An amazing debut novel published by Tin House.