Andrew Porter on the Strange Nature of Short Stories Mirroring Each Other
In Conversation with Mitzi Rapkin on the First Draft Podcast
First Draft: A Dialogue of Writing is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with fiction, nonfiction, essay writers, and poets, highlighting the voices of writers as they discuss their work, their craft, and the literary arts. Hosted by Mitzi Rapkin, First Draft celebrates creative writing and the individuals who are dedicated to bringing their carefully chosen words to print as well as the impact writers have on the world we live in.
In this episode, Mitzi talks to Andrew Porter about his new story collection, The Disappeared.
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From the episode:
Mitzi Rapkin: I noticed that a majority of the conversations that happen between characters in your stories happen at night.
Andrew Porter: That’s really interesting. hadn’t thought about that, but it’s true. Now that you’re mentioning that that’s really true. My explanation for that might be that, you know, when I think of like my own marriage, that’s when my wife and I talk a lot, just because the day is busy, and filled with lots of things to do, and lots of chaos. It’s usually at night, and particularly during those years, when our children were really young, I remember putting them down to sleep, and then just opening a bottle of wine, and finally getting to talk to each other.
And so, I think that’s where a lot of that was coming from was that those were periods of a kind of calm or stillness and one of the few periods of calm and stillness in our lives, kind of that hour or so before you fall asleep, to just kind of be together and talk and share what’s going on.
Mitzi Rapkin: I think too that in your stories, they are not hours of peace, they are hours of reckoning, like reckoning with one’s own shortcomings or fears or the areas of the relationship that aren’t really working. And I was thinking as I was reading that about the energy of night, and how it can be fun and dynamic, but then at the same time, it’s like we somehow make it through the day and all the things that are unsettling within us just kind of purge out in the evenings.
Andrew Porter: Right, yea. And it’s a period of kind of venting, you know, something’s been building up all day, or finally, like, talking about that thing that happened that day that’s really gotten under your skin. Right. And so, it becomes that as well. Right? I think that’s why a lot of the confrontations that happen in the story also happen at night. That’s when some of the greatest tension arises as well.
Andrew Porter is the author of the short story collection The Theory of Light and Matter, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, the novel In Between Days, which was a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection and an IndieBound “Indie Next” selection, and the short story collection The Disappeared. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Porter is currently a Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Trinity University in San Antonio.