Where are you from?
I grew up in Honolulu. I lived on a piece of property that had a mango tree on it.
Would you climb the tree?
I used to climb that mango tree all the time to get at its fruit! I'd sell mangoes on the side of the road for $1 apiece. And I remember the tree had lots of ferns at the base of it--the kinds of ferns that have red dots on their undersides.
What inspired your dark, intriguing stories? How long had you been working on them?
I don't know if it's inspiration so much as pressure. Once I get certain ideas, then I feel a great pressure, a kind of underwater agitation, to work them out as stories. So the sentences and pages work as a trephine, and once the draft is out, then I can relax a little. I have been working on short short stories since 2002, when I first read things by Lydia Davis and Russell Edson. I didn’t even really know such things existed until then.
What draws you to horses?
I’m not sure what it is about horses, and I don’t know why I include them in my stories so often. It might be that, when I was young, one tossed me off its back and nearly stepped on my neck. Or it might be that I remember you have to keep your hand very flat when you feed them carrot bits. Or it might be that, before I got a mouthguard, I used to gnash my teeth in my sleep, and I’d often dream of horses chewing on my arms and legs. Or it might be that I’m fascinated by the ones that make horrible sucking sounds as they gnaw on their fences. Or it might be that, even before writing existed, humans were drawing pictures of them.
Did you ever own any horses?
I never did own horses. When I was young, though, my grandmother used to take me to horse races at the Belmont racetrack.
In What Are Mine, you don’t reveal how the husband figure died. Did you decide on a demise for him, privately?
I don’t know how he died, but I’d guess it was by one of the more ordinary causes.
Are these pieces from a complete set of stories?
No, they aren’t. I’m still writing ones like these.
What have you been reading lately?
The Sound of Waves (Mishima), Last Days (Evenson), Remainder (McCarthy), Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World (Antrim), Manchild in the Promised Land (Brown), Revolution (Olin Unferth), Cassavetes on Cassavetes, On Directing Film (Mamet), Citrus County (Brandon), How They Were Found (Bell)
What’s next for you?
I am trying to write 20-40 pg. stories right now because I feel I don’t know how to sustain scenes. I hope I’ll write 10,000 pages of stories—short shorts, short stories, novels, screenplays—before I die.