Today’s Q&A is with Katie Berger, a contributor of fiction to the second issue of Sugared Water.
Katie Berger grew up and lives in Nebraska. She recently graduated with her MFA from the University of Alabama.
a little taste of “Valentine’s Day” from SW#002:
In that same non-season my neighbor Adam banished his bed from his bedroom. A single scoot-creak across to the door, a question mark of dust, a bump on the wall that led to a corner-sized dent, and his bedroom fell under new governance. It was no longer an oligarchy of dreams and disenfranchised hands groping blindly about under the rule of sleep—the new space filled with nothing but a fuzzy sock and ideas. Adam began to fill the room with a work bench, a set of notebooks, a pile of pens, and a now-kinked Slinky I saw on television last month. Adam then announced he was building a robot.
SW: What are you currently reading?
KB: I just started The City and the City by China Mieville.
SW: What are you working on now?
KB: I recently finished my chapbook, Swans, a sequence of poems that used noir/detective conventions as scaffolding. Tentatively, my next project might involve a failed moon colony and/or pre-fabricated nostalgia, although I’ve not yet decided if it will be prose, poetry, or a mix of both.
SW: What writers/works have inspired you?
KB: Bruno Schulz and his idea of “autobiography of spirit,” or construction of a deeply personal mythology, has certainly influenced my work. Proust, too–he’s got such a heart-stopping way of mapping desire and memory. And because I work as a product copywriter, I have a gaping soft spot for 1980’s Sears Wish Books.
SW: Where do you seek inspiration?
KB: It’s strange–sometimes an image or scene will stick in my brain for months or years before I sit down to explore it in words and slowly build a reality around it. My inspiration is always those tiny little images, those whispers of phrases. From there, I add the scenery.
SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
KB: Fits and starts–I’ll go several months without working on anything at all. But once I do, it’s slow and steady, about an hour a day every few days. Swans, which is about 20 pages, took about five months. I also like to tackle the same subject/world but rove amongst prose, prose poetry, verse, etc. That modulation really excites me.
SW: With what are you obsessed?
KB: College football, The Adventures of Pete and Pete, tea, visiting Seattle again, watching Jeopardy. Prose vs. verse. Star Wars vs. Trek.
Time Travel: Theory and Practice, Dancing Girl Press, 2013.
Katie Berger | SW#002