Incriminating Texts and Embarrassing Photos: What Nada Alic Needed to Write Her Debut Story Collection
In Conversation with Brad Listi on Otherppl
Subscribe and download the episode, wherever you get your podcasts!
From the episode:
Nada Alic: People fail to recognize that it takes a lot of risk and vulnerability to try to be funny and really put yourself out there. I just want to attempt that myself, because I’m always collecting thoughts and one-liners. I have this endless notes app, just mining it all constantly, and trying jokes on my friends, like my poor best friend who has truly been a 15-year-long repository for all my jokes.
Brad Listi: Let’s give this person a shoutout on the podcast.
Nada Alic: Oh, I dedicated my book to her. Andrea Nakhla, she’s an incredible painter. I credit her as my muse, and she is infinitely cooler than I will ever be. I’m the weird, neurotic girl, and I still think she’s the coolest and I live to impress her. Every day we talk. She lives in Topanga so we don’t get to see each other as much, but we text and call each other every day.
Brad Listi: So, trying material on her, is it mostly text?
Nada Alic: Yes. Our text message thread—it needs to self-destructed. I will die a thousand deaths if anyone saw it, because it is just so embarrassing. To have a relationship for that long with somebody, to grow with them and to feel so safe that you can say anything that’s on your mind, I just feel so grateful for for her. The first story—“My New Life”—I wanted it to be an ode to our friendship, but more of a funny, kind of toxic codependent friendship. The kind where you do something or say something terrible, and then they quickly tell you, “Oh, it’s fine, I’ve done worse,” or “I’ve done the same.” And then you’re absolved of your guilt. People will call you out, but we all want our best friends to just be like, “Oh, that’s not that bad. Don’t worry about it.” I don’t know if you have somebody like that in your life.
Brad Listi: Maybe not to that degree. I have friends that I talk to regularly and I feel that sense of openness with them. It’s a relief to have those friends, to feel a sense of safety, and to be able to be a mess.
Nada Alic: Or also a mutually incriminating collateral message and embarrassing photos that you share.
Brad Listi: Everybody has at least one text thread that they would die if anybody saw, and thank god they have it. I forgive everybody for that text thread.
Nada Alic: Yeah, I know what you mean. You just need one person to feel safe around. And to me, that translates really well to to forgiving myself with my writing, too.
Nada Alic’s story “The Intruder” was shortlisted for the CBC Short Fiction Prize 2019. “My New Life” was published in No Tokens Journal. She lives in Los Angeles.