This Far Isn't Far Enough: An Interview with Lynn Sloan
We met at a faculty retreat, Lynn Sloan and I, quite a number of years ago. Lynn taught photography at Columbia College Chicago, where I teach creative writing, and I still remember her speaking about the potential for narrative in series of photographs. (I wonder if she really did talk about that, or if I have revised that memory in order to encapsulate both her evocative photographic images and her deeply engaging fiction?) Our paths cross often in Chicago, this remarkable literary city, and each time we meet, I am reminded of her kindness and curiosity, two traits a writer of any merit should have, I think.
We had the chance to talk story a bit, on the eve of the release of Lynn’s new short story collection, This Far Isn’t Far Enough from Fomite Press. These stories—full of “powerful yearning” (her phrase, not mine, although I wish I could claim it)—are so smart and so masterfully crafted, it was delight to hear her talk about how they came to be.
Patty McNair: Your stories are populated with characters we readers feel we might know. They could be our neighbors, our colleagues, a friend of our mother, a customer, a family member. These are people engaged in the daily business of their lives, but often at a moment when a choice must be made, an action taken. And therein blooms the drama. I wonder, Lynn, what comes first for you? Character or dramatic moment?
Lynn Sloan: I suppose that it’s dramatic moment, in this sense: what comes first for me is a question: Why?
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Thanks to Women & Children First Bookstore for hosting a spectacular evening for the book launch of my story collection, This Far Isn't Far Enough. Thanks to the terrific booksellers who made everything flow smoothly, thanks to my friends, old and new, and those I didn’t know, to everyone who came to listen to me read. An SRO crowd and all books sold. Thank you to Sarah Hollenbeck and Lynn Mooney, the generous, savvy, and wise ones who are behind all the success of Women & Children First. Thank you.
Grief is not the exclusive province of death and dying in Lynn Sloan's poignant short story collection This Far Isn't Far Enough. Rather, we experience loss, deeply, in the many ordinary gaps and failures of our lives, over and over again.
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I am grateful to Hallie Koontz for her in-depth and generous review.
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I am thrilled with Susan Schoch's generous review of This Far Isn’t Far Enough that appears in
Story Circle Book Reviews.
“Sloan uses the language with care and creativity. In the small worlds created by the limits of short fiction, This Far Isn't Far Enough offers realities that are recognizable, yet the outcomes are not predictable. The book leaves a flavor that lingers--not sweetness, but the mineral clarity of a deep well. It's a satisfying swig of human longing and learning.”
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Thank you, Jaclyn Bauer of Centered on Books, for your pre-publcation review of my story collection,
This Far Isn't Far Enough
. . . Sandro? Sandro, thickset and old? She’d never imagined him aging. She ducked back—he couldn’t have seen her—and reached for her shotgun. . .
I am thrilled that my story "Nature Rules" appears in the fall 2017 issue of Shenandoah, a prestigious literary journal that began publishing in 1949.
Last night we Chicago authors published by Fomite had a fun evening with Donna Bister, manager of Fomite. Great conversation on topics ranging from singing, food, childhood stories, and the state of publishing.
Left to right: Maggie Kast, author of the novel A Free, Unsullied Land, Donna Bister, Fomite manager, Jan English Leary, author of the novel Thicker Than Blood, and the forthcoming story collection Skating on the Vertical, and me, Lynn Sloan, author of Principles of Navigation and the story collection This Far Isn't Far Enough, coming out February 20, 2018.
At Northwestern University Summer Writing Conference 2017, Marylee MacDonald, author of Montpelier Tomorrow, a novel, published by ATTM Press and Bonds of Love & Blood, a story collection, published by Summertime Publications, and I, author of Principles of Navigation, a novel, published by Fomite, spoke about the ways the new publishing landscape created by small presses and how this new landscape has built new and supportive communities for writers. The large audience asked great questions and offered insightful comments.