Thursday, January 24, 2008

Aimee Bender's "Willful Creatures"

Aimee Bender is the author of The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, An Invisible Sign of My Own, and Willful Creatures. Her short fiction has been published in Granta, GQ, Harper's, Tin House, McSweeney's, The Paris Review, and elsewhere, and she has received two Pushcart prizes.

She applied the "Page 99 Test" to Willful Creatures and reported the following:
So, page 99 of Willful Creatures -- it's not all that representative, but maybe in an unexpected way it is. It's close to the climactic moment in a story where a woman has stumbled upon a store that carries words, made out of solids, liquids and gases. Page 99: they (she and the shop owner) enter the gas room, and it appears to be empty. Turns out the woman who runs the store has an elaborate explanation about how she has made the gases into words. So maybe, since this could be interpreted as a metaphor for the idea of writing, and the book is a book of writing, it's absolutely representative. Sometimes, the concept of writing, to me, feels a whole lot like making gas into words. Something less tangible into something more tangible. Like grabbing at air.

Also there's a silver key which reminds me of Bluebeard stories, and all fairy tales like that one are a guiding force when I sit down to write.
Read an excerpt from Willful Creatures and learn more about the author and her work at Aimee Bender's website.

--Marshal Zeringue