Wednesday, August 5, 2015

From Volume 35: A story by E. G. Silverman

E. G. Silverman

Four Leads

Yesterday, alone, I drove for many hours through the geography of my childhood, to the house where I was young. I wanted to see an old playmate of mine. But it was gone. Gone like time. Only a stump left. A fat round stump of concentric circles. And my memory of it.

I was a tomboy. I loved to climb trees, feel the rough bark rubbing against the fabric of my denim overalls, listen to the leaves rustling around my head like angels, and breathe deep the scent of the wood and the sap. I was comforted by these beings that nestled me in their arms.

When I was a little girl, a grand old sugar maple stood guard beside our house. Its green fingers tickled my bedroom window. My mommy told me the tree was a ladder to heaven. She said that if I climbed too high in the maple, I would find myself up in the sky and unable to return. I didn’t believe her, but I steered clear of that tree anyway, just to be on the safe side. Every day I would gaze at the tree, beckoning me like a gateway to a magical land.

In the Spotlight: E.G. Silverman

When it comes to writing, E.G. Silverman is blunt: “[T]here’s no magic involved. …[A]t the end of the day, writing is hard work, and only those who are serious about it will be successful.” The author of the story “Four Leads,” appearing in volume XXXV of The Worcester Review, Silverman here explains his writing process and influences (and what his writerly instincts would have him save if his house were on fire).  

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “You don’t write because you want to say something. You write because you have to say something.” As the author of four novels, what is your response to this? 

To paraphrase the Pope, who am I to disagree with F. Scott Fitzgerald?  However, in my experience, most writers write simply because they have to. Maybe they have something to say. Maybe they don’t. Do I? I’m not really sure, but I suppose that if my primary reason for writing was because I had something to say, I’d have said it by now and been long done with the entire enterprise. Writing is tough and, if anything, it gets tougher the more I’ve written. So, at the risk of over-generalizing, what writers have in common, at least writers who’ve been at it for decades, is some overwhelming, all-consuming, annoyingly relentless inner voice that just won’t leave them alone, a voice that needs an outlet, a voice that demands putting words on paper (or okay, a computer screen), a voice that makes them go to work every day, writing, writing, and writing some more. If that’s what Fitzgerald meant by having something to say, then, who am I to disagree?

You mention on your website that you have worked with Brian Morton, Sheila Kohler, Carol DeChellis Hill, and Jonathan Baumbach. Could you talk about how these writers have helped you develop your craft?