Nelly Reifler, who lives near the start of Atlantic Avenue, is the author of See Through, a collection of stories; she teaches at Sarah Lawrence and Pratt. On Monday, she’ll be at the Franklin Park Reading Series, alongside Lev Grossman, our friend Ryan Britt, and others.
For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, what’s the most accurate thing someone else has said about it?
Suzan Sherman reviewed See Through for Bookforum, and she said that in my stories, sex is always a healing act, or one that brings about a kind of change. I hadn’t thought about it before, but she was completely right. So if you like to have a lot of sex scenes, but don’t want them to be particularly sexy, I’m your writer!
What have you read/watched/listened to/looked at/ate recently that will permanently change our readers’ lives for the better?
These things have permanently changed my life for the better. I hope the same is true for your readers:
-Matthea Harvey and Amy Jean Porter’s Of Lamb, an incredibly beautiful and strange book.
-The paintings of Elizabeth Albert.
-Music by teenaged metal virtuosos The Face of Fear.
-The hike to the top of Overlook Mountain, starting at the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra monastery, and with a stop at the crumbling, Narnian Overlook Mountain House.
Whose ghostwritten celebrity tell-all (or novel) would you sprint to the store to buy (along with a copy of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius so that the checkout clerk doesn’t look at you screwy)?
I had to think about this question for a long time; I realized that the only celebrity tell-alls I’d sprint to the store to buy would be by dead people—which gives whole new meaning to the word “ghostwritten.” Among these would be Jayne Mansfield, Katherine Anne Porter, and Sid Vicious.
Have you ever been a Starving Artist, and did it make you brilliant, or just hungry?
Since I was raised by poor artists myself, they taught me how to never starve. But I’ve been a panicked artist a lot, and it didn’t make me brilliant, just panicked.
What would you characterize as an ideal interaction with a reader?
The reader says something nice about my work, and I manage not to make a bad, self-deprecating joke in response. Really, I am grateful just to interact with readers; that experience itself is a kind of ideal.
Have you ever written anything that you’d like to take back?
Many of the emails I wrote between 2003 and 2005, especially the ones composed while sipping cheap white wine.