Kona Morris interview with Meg Tuite
Anything you would like to share with our readers about the inspiration for this story?
I like to claim fiction for everything I write. It’s safer that way, and it puts the focus where it should be—on the story. But like most of my material, “Treeside Drive” did emerge from real observations and experiences. I wanted to portray the innocent cruelty of children. The way they can so naïvely and spontaneously inflict horrible damage, especially on each other, with a sort of detachment from consequences.
Do you have a writing schedule you adhere to and/or any tricks you might want to share with your readers?
I write every single day. The hundreds of other things I also do try get in the way, but I make sure to spend at least a couple hours everyday doing something for my writing career—if not producing new material, then at least editing or submitting. If it’s important, you have to make it happen. There is no alternative to sitting down and actually doing the work. Like Sartre said, we are nothing but our actions.
As far as tricks go, it’s important to listen to your mood and figure out what kind of writing you do best at different times of the day. Whenever I find it difficult to focus on a single piece, I often have multiple files open that I hop back and forth between. The important thing is to keep up your inspiration. If you’re bored writing something, your readers will be bored, too.
What book are you reading at this time?
I am always reading several books at once. Currently, I’m re-reading Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian with a class I’m teaching it in. I’m also nearly finished with Henry Miller’s The Air-conditioned Nightmare, listening to an audio recording of Ulysses, and my boyfriend and I are currently reading Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark together.
Name the most influential writers of your writing career and a line or two telling us why.
Charles Baudelaire, Vladimir Nabokov, e. e. cummings, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Charles Bukowski, Edward Abbey, Henry Miller, Raymond Carver, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Hunter S. Thompson.
Nabokov taught me the lesson of not letting the world scare you into censorship. Carver taught me the use of ambiguity and suspense. Ellison taught me the power of diction and having a Brobdingnagian vocabulary. Miller and Joyce taught me the genius of flow and syntax. Thompson taught me hilarious innovation. Bukowski and Abbey taught me voice. Stein and cummings taught me experimentation. Bradbury taught me to play by my own rules, which I can make up, and change, whenever I like. And Baudelaire, my darling first love, taught me to never allow the drunkenness of inspiration to slip way.