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propellercraft

Gail Ghezzi

were emailing each other, what story potentials think that it could destabilize it, but that people would you lose? from that era had slower-evolving identities for this very reason. If I sent you a letter that said “I Ben Greenman: I think I’d lose most of it. I sup- am upset” and you got it four days later, you had pressed emails in many of these stories. I don’t to believe that I was still upset, and so did I. In mean that I redacted them. I mean that I ag- this case, I wrote only one side because I wanted gressively imagined the characters without it. the reader to be, in some sense, the other side. I took it from them. I smashed their comput- I wanted the reader to experience receiving a ers. I turned off the circuit breakers and cut the letter and deciding how much they wanted to power cords. People want connection and so, if credit it with honesty, insight, urgency, and I can’t give it to them, I can at least confirm their whatever else. I am suspicious of books or stosuspicion that they are not getting it. ries that profess to tell the entire story. You’re only ever telling a sliver. Propeller: So it’s really not only that the characters are writing to each other’s letters—“I’m re- Propeller: And it seems like by selecting the sponding to your words, not to you”—but that right kind of sliver, you’re able to awaken that there’s something that happens in the time that need in the reader to make these decisions. In a passes between correspondences. The passage story like “From the Front,” for instance, which of time destabilizes what was in the letter, be- is a single letter from a father to his daughter, we cause maybe the person I’m writing to no lon- have a sense right from the start that the father ger feels the same by the time I respond. Do you is writing from emotion, and that this emotion feel this is why epistolary novels or stories are colors, in some way, the claims he makes about often only one side of the correspondence? Or his friend/collaborator Delvigne. At the same did you have thoughts, when working on your time, there also has to be a part of the reader stories specifically, as to why it worked better, as that’s just wondering what the hell the father is a story, to only write one side of the correspon- talking about—we’re reading a personal letter dence? about ammunition development postmarked “North Africa 1851.” Part of the allure of many Ben Greenman: I think you’re right, but wrong. stories in this book is the entertaining disoriI think that time stabilizes what is in the letter. I entation of being dropped into a situation we

Propeller 2.4  

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