Luke Dani Blue on Early Life Trauma and How Writing Helps Ground Them
In Conversation with Brad Listi on Otherppl
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From the episode:
Brad Listi: I think what you’re saying is that you got out of your own way.
Luke Dani Blue: Yeah. I didn’t write fiction at all until I was in my late twenties, so I just have a really different relationship with writing. I was writing other stuff—I mean, not consistently—but I was writing poetry, badly, and personal essays, which are still something that I enjoy. But I really came to fiction as a tool for dealing with a kind of existential problem of early childhood trauma. I was kind of too relativistic about my own experience, being like, “Well, sure, I guess I could be sad, but I mean, what is sadness?”
Basically, there’s a couple of very small things that are directly borrowed from my own experience. Most of the characters are not really people I identify with, but I used those stories as a place to make my inner experience feel concrete so that I could start believing that what I experienced is real. This is true of a lot of people who experience particularly early life trauma. It’s like your sense of reality doesn’t neurologically get developed properly. It’s not like I didn’t know what reality was, it’s that things didn’t feel real just because I experienced them. Those stories were such vehicles for my own process, if that makes sense.
Luke Dani Blue’s stories have appeared in the Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review, and have been included on the list of the year’s most distinguished stories in Best American Short Stories 2016. Originally from Michigan, Luke (they/them) is a two-time college dropout and time-traveling Victorian invalid who resides most reliably on the internet. They are also an astrologer.