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Q and A

Oct 21, 2010; Liam Asks:

Recently, I've been reading your movie reviews from the 90's. In the review for "The Truman Show," you dropped some Lacanian lit-theory on our asses. This invites the questions, "What are your thoughts on literary theory, in general?" "Has your view on it changed over time?" "Has it affected/informed/enhanced/etc. your work? How so?"

I hope this online query finds you well. :)

By the way, when you dropped that Lacan on us, I was all like "Awwwww sheeeeeeeeut, son! S-Ricky is FIRE!"

You don't even know, grrrl!

Stacey answers:

Hi Liam. Thanks for reading my film reviews! You're nice, especially since I had to write some of them so quickly that I was pulling a lot of crap out of, I don't know, my ass? I have mixed feelings about literary theory in general. At its best, it's smart and fun. I like ideas, and I like ideas about ideas. I like thought, and I like thoughts about thought. But I don't think it has much to do with literature. Rather, it is its own thing, with its own system of thought, and while it has plenty of merits, I'm not sure it needs literature to exist. Which is fine, I guess, but I don't know why literary theory needs English departments.

But I also kind of hate literary theory because most of it is written in a style that's absolutely impossible to read. I know that complicated thoughts can be expressed clearly and without jargon, without nouns turned into verbs and "to be sure's" and paragraphs that have their point buried in a subordinate clause. That smart people have collectively abandoned clarity enrages me. That this kind of writing has become customary in academic circles enrages me. What kind of person writes, say Marxist criticism that condemns elitism, in an elite dialect that can only be understood by other academics? It's retarded. Plus no one else has access to their ideas, unless they wish to be tortured by language. They're like priests saying the mass in Latin. It has a kind of aura. But only other priests can really get it.

Oct 04, 2010; Maddy Asks:

What literary type magazines do you like? I know you list a few, but what others?

Stacey answers:

Hi Maddy, I haven't forgotten you...I just want to do a little research to give you a better list. I'm not the greatest person to ask about literary magazines because I don't teach, and therefore I'm not as dialed in to all the great new stuff. I like Willow Springs, Fairy Tale Review, The Mississippi Review, Tin House, Zoetrope, and The Sonora Review, but I'll bet there are other great journals I don't know about. I'm going to ask a friend who's up on it and try to e x p a n d.

Sep 23, 2010; Wag Asks:

Excuse me but WE ask the questions around here! I helped make the video, but a guy named Derek from Oklahoma did the shooting/editing, etc. Drugs? That's not really the point. There will be no rave dancing! This is more a worlds fair type thing (at least that's the intention...

Sep 22, 2010; Miranda Asks:

Hi Stacey. You are the best author I have come across in a long time by far. I LOVE your books. Do you have plans to write any more anytime soon? If not, what authors do you like and would recommend to someone who likes your style of writing?

Stacey answers:

Thanks, Miranda. I'm writing a novel now but it probably won't be out for a while.

As for my style of writing, it's sort of weird how I don't even know exactly what it is--I think it's like having an accent, it's hard to recognize your own. But off the top of my head, some great writers who write funny-strange short stories are Kelly Link, Amy Bender, George Saunders, and Karen Russell. But there are so many more!

Sep 15, 2010; Wag Asks:

Hi Stacey! Do you remember a question I asked a while back, filled with worry about the state of the country and how little stock people put in things like science? Well, I've found a project I'm helping out with called "Re Evolution". I'm working in the Production/Logistics department and I couldn't be happier! You should check out our Kickstarter page! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/732325194/re-evolution What do you think of it?

Stacey answers:

Cool! I love robots on fire. Did you make that great film?

I sincerely hope you're planning to have a bowl of drugs by the entrance door.

Sep 09, 2010; Incog-Nikita Asks:

Hi Stacey, Could you talk a little bit about finding an agent? I think the story is that one found you (you told me this years ago, in some other context) but in general, how does that go about happening?

Stacey answers:

Yes, I got a letter from my agent, so she basically found me. It was weirdly easy. Honestly Incog, I have no idea how to go about finding an agent. But since I have male answer syndrome, I'll throw out some suggestions. You could ask someone who teaches in an MFA program--they probably know what some of their students did. You could ask our oracle, Google. You could call an agent's office, be nice to their assistant, and ask how a person goes about finding an agent. You could go to the library and see what kind of info you find there.

Sep 04, 2010; Someone who totally isn't Stacey. Nope. Not at all. Asks:

Which currently-alive/-relevant (so, Abe Vigoda doesn't count) celebrities do you have the biggest crush on? Pick at least 1 from each sex, please.

Explain you answer.

Be specific.

Your loving interrogator,
Someone who is NOT you

P...S... This also isn't Liam. No way.

Stacey answers:

Okay. Boys: Tom Hardy, because he's got all that sexy charisma. Clive Owen, because he loves me, I'm pretty sure. Sacha Baron Cohen, because I'm just so right for him. Tiger Woods, because he sounds like fun and I want to have Ambien sex.

Girls: Britney Spears, because it's fun to have sex with crazy people and I love her weird wide-eyed face. And Megan Fox: no explanation required.

Aug 21, 2010; littleshirlybeans Asks:

Dear Stacey, I want to send you pictures of our vacation together aka "Our Date With Stacey Richter" (the one to Tucson involving David Sedaris), can I send them to the email address that's here on this site? I promise they are not creepy and I am not creepy. I just don't want to post the link for all to see. I sort of took your advice about the derby name. My name is...Malice in Derbyland!!! Thanks for your help. Finally, how do you suggest I deal with violence in my writing. Most of my ideas for stories have been violent lately and this is a new development. I started one recently and it just became more and more violent with every word and it kind of scares me. Suggestions? Lots of love from New Mexico! Littleshirlybeans

Stacey answers:

Hi Littleshirly, Yes, just send them to Stacey@staceyrichter.com. I'm excited! If I don't get them I'll post further instructions here. I love Malice in Derbyland--you gals sounds scary and cute.

Try not to be too disoriented when violence pops up in your writing. Go with it if you can. Violence is a form of conflict and conflict is what makes fiction chug forward. Though it may make you feel like a freak, remember that everyone has violent thoughts and fantasies. Nuns, ballerinas, woodworkers, veterinarians--they all carry around images of stabbing their mothers and strangling the UPS man and removing other people's heads. But sometimes these thoughts are beneath the surface, since civilization requires a certain amount of repression so we can function as social creatures. Women, especially, are taught to do some nice repression in this area, which is why we're disturbed when the violence shoots to the surface like a balloon we were holding underwater and forgot about. Oh no, what's that? It's violence! What does it mean? It means you're a normal person! It doesn't mean you're depraved or unnice or a budding sociopath. But it might mean you're angry. That can be scary, yes. Things that inspire anger are usually things that hurt you, with anger forming a scab around the wound that starts to bleed if you pick at it. No one likes doing this. But the weird thing is that no one likes not doing it either. Sometimes you have to pick at the violent-angry-pain scab. Itís part of making art. Which is another reason why making art is not exactly pleasant.

Aug 19, 2010; Have you ever... Asks:

posed as someone posting a question so you could just answer something that happened to be on your mind? What I'm asking is, are there fake posters among us?

Stacey answers:

Yes, but I don't do it that often. I usually do it when I have something on my mind or feel forlorn that no one's asked me a question for a while. The first-ever two questions were my own because there was no one else around and I wanted to set the tone--one is about writing, one is about boys.

Not that you asked, but if you want to look them up, here's a list of all the pseudonyms I've used for self-posts, going backward in time: One Who Wonders, The Wonderer, Philibert, grape popsicle, Beehive Hairdo, Papusa of the Night, Official A, Chrysalis, Leela Johnson, INVADED, Bunny Hat, and Cree-8-ive.

It sounds like a lot but it's not that many. It includes all the questions with pictures in the answers (these are mostly pictures of insects, but there's also a REAL NOTE from my mother), a plea to young writers not to move heavy objects (since my back became so fucked from moving heavy objects), a plea to post reviews of Twin Study on Amazon (completely ignored), and some thoughts on writing sex scenes. So most of the question are real. The fakes often have a public-service slant. Do I feel guilty? Yes, I feel guilty. From now on, I'll make all the fake ones come from Cree-8-ive. She has questions. Lately she has questions about grammar and usage, but she's been holding back.

Aug 19, 2010; Wag Asks:

Hello Stacey! How's this idea: You write a book and make a short (2-3 minute) film of one section of the book. Post that film on Kickstarter.com and solicit pledges to publish the book yourself! What do you think?

Stacey answers:

I don't know--what's Kickstarter? Also, there's one tricky section in this scheme that I tripped over, the part where you say: "You write a book."

Okay, I looked up Kickstarter. That's a great site! I don't think I need it right now, since I've been able to find commercial publishers for my books, so far anyway, and I don't want to suck up people's charity seed money if I don't need it. But I bet there's a lot of writers and artists who could get things going with that.

P.S. I finally answered your question about hand-washing from a few months ago.

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