The L Mag Questionnaire for Writer Types: Jim Shepard

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11/10/2011 9:48 AM |


Jim Shepard, whose collected works are like the Quantum Leap of literary short fiction, reads this coming Monday at the Franklin Park series, along with Colson Whitehead, Ben Greenman, and other contributors to the evening’s special guest copesenters, Electric Literature.

For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, what’s the most accurate thing someone else has said about it?
Daniel Handler over the years has said a lot of really nice things that I would like to believe are accurate, most having to do with the way my stuff is simultaneously smart and fun to read.

What have you read/watched/listened to/looked at/ate recently that will permanently change our readers’ lives for the better?

In terms of books, try Bonnie Jo Campbell’s short story collection about our rural underclass, American Salvage. In terms of movies, Charles Ferguson‘s documentary Inside Job. The latter should be required viewing for every American over 18.

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)?
How about It Was All Rupert Murdoch’s Idea and I Can Prove It, by Tony Blair.

Have you ever been a Starving Artist, and did it make you brilliant, or just hungry?
Happily, I’ve never been starving. Just hungry, and occasionally self-pitying.

What would you characterize as an ideal interaction with a reader?
The reader is blown away, and then writes to tell me that. And then the reader turns out to have been Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Have you ever written anything that you’d like to take back?
I do every day. Do you mean published anything I’d like to take back? That, too. When I assembled a New and Selected Stories a few years ago, I got to go back over some of my previously published stories. That was a sobering experience, let me tell you.