have a friend who used to tease me in college for making “The Mary Rechner Exit”—of just being like, I’m out of here. And I think there is an element—I’ve actually been married for a really long time, and I have friends that I’ve known for a really long time—but there is an element of my personality that is a bit fickle or impatient, so I think as a writer it’s very hard for me to stay with a narrative for several years. It’s more fun, for me, to create a bunch of characters, have interesting, weird, strange, sad things happen, and then be able to be finished. I think, too, I like the compression of language in a story, which probably to me is more evocative of poetry, whereas in a novel there’s a little more drudgery. Like, Oh, I have to explain more, I have to tell more. Maybe there’s more exposition. Maybe it’s just not my forte—I don’t know! We’ll see if my novel comes together or not.
Mary Rechner: Well, when you have a collection where the stories are quite possibly being read together, it is fun to think about the way that the stories speak to each other. If you go to an art exhibit that is a retrospective, and you get to see a bunch of an artist’s work, it’s a really different experience than going to a group show where you just see a piece or two of a bunch of different people. So when you read a literary magazine and see your piece in it, it’s surrounded by work of other people, and there’s a certain pleasure in that. And the reader-who-isn’tthe-writer, there’s a certain pleasure in reading lots of different things. But I think there’s also a pleasure in seeing what a writer’s trying to do in a book, and seeing the ways that the stories speak to each other, echo each other, disagree with each other, amplify each other—that’s kind of fun to see. And I think in this collection the stories, thematically, are pretty related.
Propeller: Is there anything that has changed for you in the way you think about your sto- Propeller: What’s that theme? ries since the collection has come together and you’ve seen it, as opposed to back when these Mary Rechner: The theme is...trying to stay were stories individually appearing in journals, alive. Ω or individually living in your computer?