Berger says of his research, “After reading some seventy books about the Old West, I went into a creative trance in which it seemed as though I were listening to Jack Crabb’s narrative.”
~ Quoted by Brooks Landon, in Introduction: The Measure of Little Big Man, Little Big Man, page xiii (2005 reprint)
Tag Archives: writing process
‘Could you talk about the autobiographical aspects of your work?’
‘This person isn’t me,’ he said. . . .
‘All the details might have—what would one call it—a certain remembered authenticity. Some of the events have occurred. But the process of creating a character is the process of letting something emerge that is and isn’t you—a mediator between your experience and whatever it is you call yourself. Another. Which is why the naming is important. The name has to bring a certain magic with it, a set of random associations that will grow to have a life of their own. Which is why I let the name come to me, don’t search it out.’
~ Neil Jordan, Mistaken, in chapter “The Riverside,” p. 259 (Soft Skull Press, 2011)
In my collection of vintage family photos there is one that is not identified. It’s a turn-of-the-century wedding portrait, and the youthful couple stare at the camera with almost deer-in-the-headlights expressions. I can see no resemblance between any of my great-grandmother’s relatives (identified in other period photos) and either the husband or the wife. Friends of the family? Extended family members? The passage of more than a hundred years has erased the memory of their identity.
Maria Romasco Moore’s debut book, Ghostographs, is an entirely unique “novella-in-flash,” combining stories and vintage photographs that create an experience that’s both eerie and sublime. It’s a coming-of-age story that takes place in a small town full of secrets and ghosts and unforgettable characters. The book has received high praise from the likes of Carmen Maria Machado, who blurbed: “Each of these stories is its own ghost: startling, uncanny, gone. Each one rattles its chains, smiles its terrible smile, gestures towards the others.”
I was lucky enough to talk with Maria about her writing, the appeal of old photographs, working with a small press, and more.
I wanted to start with the author’s note that comes at the end of Ghostographs, and how you write about this collection of old photographs you slowly built and started from childhood. Can you talk a bit about your fascination with old photographs?…
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