Isabel Kaplan on Relationship Complexity
In Conversation with Lindsay Hunter on I'm a Writer But
Welcome to I’m a Writer But, where writers discuss their work, their lives, their other work, the stuff that takes up any free time they have, all the stuff they’re not able to get to, and the ways in which any of us get anything done. Plus: book recommendations, bad jokes, okay jokes, despair, joy, and anything else going on that week. Hosted by Lindsay Hunter.
Today, Isabel Kaplan discusses her bestselling novel NSFW, writing an authentic codependent relationship, pushing past catharsis and resolution rather than crafting a traditional ending, her use of dialogue and conversation, querying agents at age 12, what it’s like to have a viral essay, and more!
And: stay tuned at the end to hear excerpts from some exciting new small press releases from Grant Maierhofer and Shannon McLeod!
From the episode:
Isabel Kaplan: I think it’s really easy to flatten that type of dynamic, and to also say something is either healthy or unhealthy, toxic or supportive, and the truth is, with a lot of relationships in life, and a lot of the most intimate ones—and especially ones with family, which have layers and layers of complexity—the answer is often “both, and.” It’s not one or the other. If any relationship were entirely good or entirely bad, it would also be easier to say “I’m cutting this out of my life, it’s not useful.” I really wanted to examine the dynamics of codependency and how complicated they are.
Isabel Kaplan is the author of the national bestselling novel NSFW, which was a finalist for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and an Amazon “Best Book of 2022.” She is also the author of the viral Guardian essay “My boyfriend, a writer, broke up with me because I’m a writer” and the national bestselling young adult novel Hancock Park. She studied English at Harvard, holds an MFA in creative writing from NYU, and was born and raised in Los Angeles.