Roxane Gay hops in for a half-dozen questions. She is a nominee for two -- yes, two -- NAACP Image Awards, one in fiction and one in nonfiction. Below, she talks about love letters, criticism, and procrastination -- a surprise from such a brilliant and prolific writer.
(And if you're hunting for a holiday present for your favorite feminists,
click here to take a look at Roxane's New York Times Bestseller
Let the questions begin...
Some writers hate to write. Other writers love being engaged in the creative process. How would you describe your relationship with the page?
I love to write. I harbor no angst about writing. The page is where I lose myself and find myself and soothe myself and thrill myself. It's always something wonderful and I always looking forward to getting back to that place.
What’s your advice to someone who’s fallen in love with a writer?
Settle in for gorgeous and sexy love letters.
Criticism. It’s part of the territory. How do you handle it? Is this the way you’ve always handled it?
I allow myself to sulk if it's a petty criticism. I always feel the sting, truthfully but I try to learn from the criticism that points out weaknesses in my craft or thinking. It helps me grow and it's also great to see people engaging with my work.
Have you learned to strike a balance between your writing life and the other aspects of your life?
I haven't. It's terrible, but I feel like I am always working. I never allow myself a moment to stop and breathe.
If you teach the craft of writing, why do you do it -- other than cash?
I love learning new things and ways of thinking about the craft of fiction and creative nonfiction. I am always challenged and invigorated by the risks I see my students taking.
What’s your take on touring?
I've been lucky enough to go on book tours for both of my books this year. It has been a wonderful, gratifying experience to share my writing with enthusiastic audiences. It's also awesome to meet people who read my books and see, visibly, what my writing means to them. Touring is also exhausting but I can't wait to do it again.
What's your worst writerly habit?
I procrastinate and take on far too many assignments that I cannot realistically complete in the allotted time.
Roxane Gay's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, West Branch, Virginia Quarterly Review, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Time, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Salon, and many others. She is the co-editor of PANK. She is also the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, Bad Feminist, and Hunger, forthcoming from Harper in 2016.