Carmen Maria Machado on Surviving the Book She
Had to Write
From the Thresholds Podcast, Hosted by Jordan Kisner
This is Thresholds, a series of conversations with writers about experiences that completely turned them upside down, disoriented them in their lives, changed them, and changed how and why they wanted to write. Hosted by Jordan Kisner, author of the new essay collection, Thin Places, and brought to you by Lit Hub Radio.
In our sixth and last episode of the season, Carmen Maria Machado discusses the painful experience of writing her memoir In the Dream House, and the painful process afterwards—of surviving the book.
From the interview:
Carmen Maria Machado: I had to pass the book like a kidney stone. I had to get it out of my system. I had to get it out of my own way because I had other things I wanted to do. I’d started the book before my ex and I started dating, but this book was the first book that was born in a world where that was my rehab. That was my entire reality, and I needed to get it out of my own way.
It’s not as if I got an inspiration one day, like, hey, I think I’ll write that book. I feel like it feels inevitable. It feels seared into my timeline like any any other fact about me, but I do imagine a world like maybe where, like I said to my spouse, I can’t write this book … but I think it helps to be quite honest. I think I would be a little happier.
Carmen Maria Machado is the author of Her Body and Other Parties, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize. She lives in Philadelphia with her wife.