David Tromblay: ‘I Knew My Story Wasn’t Only My Story’
In Conversation with Brad Listi on Otherppl
David Tromblay is the guest. His book, As You Were, is out now from Dzanc Books.
From the episode:
Brad Listi: You wrote this book in the second person, which I’ve seen here and there. It seems like a good call for this particular kind of story—you know, going through such painful memories and trying to find some degree of distance from them so you can put them down. Can you talk a little bit about the decision to write in the second person?
David Tromblay: That decision was just—it wasn’t as deep as you would like it to be. I wanted it to be difficult. I didn’t want to have a memoir that was just “I, I, I, I” the whole way through, sounding like Axl Rose. And I knew my story wasn’t only my story, that other people had lived some portion of my story silently. I thought I had been through a pretty bad mix of things, and I wanted to say, you know, there is a way to get through this. Music and books, same thing for me—you hear these songs that other people can made it through, so I can make it through. It was more of no longer being seen and not heard, which is how I was raised. My whole childhood, I couldn’t say anything. So now this is my way of undoing it.
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David Tromblay served in the U.S. Armed Forces for over a decade before attending the Institute of American Indian Arts for his MFA in Creative Writing. His essays and short stories have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Pank Magazine; Michigan Quarterly Review; RED INK: International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts, & Humanities; The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature; Yellow Medicine Review; Open: Journal of Arts & Letters; Watershed Review; FIVE:2: ONE Magazine; and BULL: Men’s Magazine. He currently lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with his dogs, Bentley and Hank.