Matthew Purdy’s short story, “Out into the Night Somewhere” appeared in Issue 11 and can be read here.
Tell us a little about “Out into the Night Somewhere.”
I’ve always been a big fan of magical realism, both as a writer and a reader. I forget what initially sparked this story, but, for me, when you’re writing a magical realist piece, the conceit is everything, even (especially) with something that might seem kind of stupid or silly at first. So that’s what I tried to do here. As it went along, I realized what the story is really about for me is depression; this is a literalized, externalized version of what it feels like living with depression a lot of the time. But that’s my take. Hopefully other readers can see parallels between this character’s condition and circumstances in their own lives.
What was the most difficult part of writing this story?
I worried that this was just another story about a guy who can’t get his shit together and has to rely on a girl to save him. I was back and forth about having Janet fall apart too – maybe she hid it really well and only revealed it at the end, once they stepped across that relationship threshold? In the end, I decided it might make the story too unwieldy if she had the narrator’s condition. Maybe I’ll save that for another story. In any case, I feel like Janet has enough troubles and imperfections to make it clear that she’s a person, not a plot device.
Recommend a book for us which was published within the last decade.
Kind of a cheat, but the first thing that comes to mind is Wiesław Myśliwski’s Stone upon Stone, translated from Polish in 2011 but originally published in 1984. It’s an incredibly wise and beautiful book, one that I can see myself returning to a lot. It’s just gorgeous.
If you could have a drink with any living author, who would it be? Why?
Howard Buten wrote what is, at least many days of the week, my favorite book, When I Was Five I Killed Myself. He’s an interesting guy: a novelist, psychologist, and clown. (Seriously: http://www.buffo-buten.com/) It’d make for a memorable conversation, I think.
What are you working on now? What’s next?
I’m looking for an agent now to shop around a novel called Save the Planet, Kill Yourself. It’s funny, I promise.
Our thanks to Matthew for taking the time to answer a few questions and share his work. Read “Out into the Night Somewhere” here: www.sequestrum.org/fiction-out-into-the-night-somewhere.
Matthew Purdy’s work has appeared in journals such as One Story, the Mississippi Review, Quick Fiction, the Iron Horse Literary Review, the Mid-American Review, and Best New American Voices 2005, guest edited by Francine Prose. Purdy is the recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Award and received a PhD in English and Creative Writing from Texas Tech University. Currently, Purdy lives, writes, and teaches in Boston.