Monday, October 18, 2010

IFOA/Globe/Book Madam Interview with Alexander MacLeod

The Globe & Mail Book Blog has just posted a chat Julie Wilson had with Alexander MacLeod in advance of his appearance at IFOA on Sunday. Here's a snippet:

How much of yourself is in these stories? What elements are perhaps much closer than they appear if only to you and the people who know you?
Friday October 15, 2010 9:52 BookMadam
Alexander MacLeod:
All of this stuff comes from me and my life. I delivered prescriptions and did interlocking brick and I was a competitive runner and I have small kids, yes, but these aren’t autobiographical stories. My wife is not the wife in ‘Wonder About Parents’ – she’ll tell you that in an instant – and I’m not the kid who faces what has to be faced in ‘The Loop,’ but we’re close enough to those characters to recognize their situations. (I, too, loved the Dukes and was surprised to learn during the copy-editing that Hazzard country has two “Zs”)....
Friday October 15, 2010 9:55 Alexander MacLeod
Alexander MacLeod:

Everybody, of course, thinks this is straight up autobiography but I hope that’s a sign that the stories are doing their work in the right way. When I write a story, like anybody else, I can re-arrange everything in my own experience in order to make a better narrative. I can bring in new elements or new people and I can cut others out. I can do whatever I think needs to be done in order to deliver something worthwhile to a reader. There are moments, tense moments, in every real life where fairly fundamental challenges need to be faced. And, again, like everybody else, I’ve had some of those, but, as I always say to my students, a tense experience or a sad experience or a terrifying experience does not guarantee, or even necessarily lead towards a tense, sad or terrifying story. Writers make those kinds of stories, and they have to work hard to trigger those effects. In my case, I made the stories out of the materials at hand, but I think they sink or swim based on how they're made rather than what they are made of.

You can read the whole interview here.

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