Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Flash View with Steve Mitchell

Steve Mitchell has been many things, including the author of The Naming of Ghosts and the organizer of the interview series The Writing Life.

And then what happened?
The car pulled away, sliding into traffic and away. It was summer and the sun was high and at some point the glass looked like hot gold, blotting the interior as the car disappeared from view. I stood at the curb. I remember waves of traffic flowing by me and the faint scent of something summery, perhaps magnolia.

What do you think about it now?
I think we were young. But usually, I don’t think. The memory simply arises, with an exhilarating sadness. That sense you can have of your life changing at a turn, with the excitement and the unknowing.

Describe a dream
I’d swallowed a raw egg whole. I could feel it in my throat, feel the lump behind my ribs. I could see the egg in my chest as if studying an X-ray. I wondered if I’d stop breathing, or if my esophagus would crush the egg in a slow fist, the way they say a snake does.

Then I was inside the egg too. Because in a dream you can be two places at once, both inside and outside. The shell was close and comforting at first but it grew tighter and tighter. I began to peck at the shell of the egg, tiny pecks at first then, sensing cracks, hard and more insistent.

I could see the body of a bird, me, closed within the shell, immobile in the throat. I worried that even if I escaped the shell I’d be captured by the mouth. Then I woke up.

What question shouldn’t you have asked?
“Why?” You should never ask why. Every answer to “Why?” is a lie.

What question couldn’t you answer?
See above. Also, “What does it mean?” Good Lord, if I knew what it meant, I’d never have to do it. Meaning is always three steps beyond me. Every time I think I’ve caught up, it’s turned the corner a block ahead.

It seems some folks live in a world where meanings are lined like boxed sets of books on their shelves, color-coded and pretty, with an accent lamp. Most of the time I can’t find a meaning when I’m looking for it. It’s only later I discover it, pushed under the bed or wadded at the back of the sock drawer.

Name it!
The Denial of Comfort

You can read more about Steve Mitchell and his work at:

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