Ask the Author: Melissa Goodrich

Melissa Goodrich has one of the most popular stories in the August issue and she talks with us about inadequate nipple stimulation, isolation, looking up the sky’s skirt and more.

1. “When he starts sucking on my nipples, all I can think about is goose grey clouds.” – I have to ask: how terrible is this guy at sucking nipples?

Poor, but not monstrous (he’s not, for example, supersuckering them off). I think the stimulation hardly happens it’s so quiet. Probably, he’s scared, or shy. Maybe his hardly-present-ness informs her tactiles way beyond the bedroom, and suddenly she’s entered that Yogi-out-of-body space, memory, beauty. Which I guess is bad, if where you want to be is a bed.

2. Can you stand isolation?

Reluctantly. I’m most happy sitting in my room alone, door closed, hunched over my desk crooning, knowing on the other side of my wall I’m disturbing some lovely one. But isolation? I seek spaces providing the possibility that at any moment someone will burst in and beach beside me: dining tables, pianos, porch swings, grass in the parasol sun, settings of so much open space.

Really it’s how Aracelis Girmay puts it: “next time, if I am a river, I hope you are a river,/ & if you are a bird, god, let me be a bird.”

3. What sense of yours do you wish was acute?

I’d like to touch the walls of a house and feel the ease of wind in each window, and the birds clipped on the eves, them jetting off all at once in an arrow. Or sense the shouldering up of tree roots under sidewalks. I’d like monarchs to leave bruises.

But, oh, to hear ultrasonically. To lay my ear to the ground and hear the coarse things grow.

4. What is up the sky’s dress? Would you like what was found?

What is up every dress, given temperament: moisture, the potential of.

And rain, I love the rain.

5. How much of your poetry influences your craft of fiction?

They infect each other. A poem’s environment is so necessarily attentive that it trains one to hone in on details that, in a story, shade tone and tenor. And a story’s most indulgent moments remind me of poems. What matters most is language emitting heat, whatever its form. The lyric, the story; I love the way they seem to spoon.

6. Would Istas be one of the faces we see in the video for Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train”?

I think not; he is more the cigarette smoke, and the montage of running, and the staring: these things seem true.
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