Karla Kelsey and Aaron McCollough, editors of SplitLevel Texts, talk to their latest authors, Carla Harryman and Catherine Meng, about their new books.
Karla Kelsey & Aaron McCollough: Catherine and Carla—thank you for doing this interview with us. We are so pleased to release both of your books as the second “pairing” of SplitLevel Text titles. The first question is broad but comes out of working so closely with W—/M— and The Longest Total Solar Eclipse of the Century, and speculating about process. We wonder if you could describe the relationship that you had to time when you were composing your books and whether or not it shifted during development and, if so, how. Do you feel your books are “of” or “in” a certain time? “About” or “at?”
Catherine Meng: Most of my work is the product of self-imposed constraints. I prefer to write first drafts in forms or off of word lists in particular. I find a sort of security once I assign myself perimeters in which to write into. In this instance, it was Daniil Kharms’s mandate in The Blue Notebook to write every day “at least half a page”—if you don’t write at least write “today I wrote nothing.”