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Pia Z. Ehrhardt

by Susan Henderson on November 7, 2007

Pia Ehrhardt has been unbelievably influential in my writing – not just because we’ve edited each other’s work for so many years, but because once you see what Pia can do with a single sentence – how you can pack it full of beauty, tension, secrets, love, imagery, and yet keep it so very simple – you can’t help but want to write better. Her writing has trained my ear and made me crave work that bubbles beneath the surface.

I like the crumminess of Channel 10 because after you watch it, real life seems prettier, like running with leg weights and then taking them off. You think you could jump an eight-foot wall. – “Running the Room,” FAMOUS FATHERS

I’m so happy to have Pia here, and I hope you’ll buy this beautiful little book. I brought it with me on vacation this summer and tried so hard to make it last the whole trip, but darn it if I didn’t finish it on the plane ride there. FAMOUS FATHERS dares to go to some very hard places and stand in the midst of terrible mistakes and find the heart and the humanity within the mess. I love this book, and I love this author.

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Often, I find writers who create emotionally complex characters are not so good about getting their characters out of their heads and out of their homes. Your characters are on the move. Talk to me about that.

My characters tend to be high-functioning agorophobics with their hearts and bags packed for travel. It’s so hard to take the first step out the door, but en route to where you’re going, doesn’t grace seem possible? What I want for the people in my stories is the freedom and the space to unstick themselves, to bump into trouble and pleasures that aren’t going to happen if you stay in your chair at home under your afghan with your books and your journal. So I send a teenager on a road trip with the check out guy from Piggly Wiggly, or I have a woman driving around New Orleans late at night with a guy from night class, while her mother meets her lover at the Hilton. Cars are great containers for little romances.

Call your father. Test if you have what you had at seventeen. See if he still wants you in his bed. Convince yourself it was your choice, not his. Kids are never to blame. Use him now. Tell your side of the story and let him trash your husband, then defend your husband so he gets jealous and says more than necessary. Get him to say again that he’s the only man who can satisfy you because you’re cut from the same bolt of cloth. – “Stop,” FAMOUS FATHERS

I find there’s a restlessness with so many of your characters, who are fleeing or leading secret lives or taking real risks. What do think they’re searching for?

They’re searching for the safety and cover of Family, the closed loop. The sense of being home, and loved, without tricks or disclaimers. My mother had me when she was twenty and then she went on tour for three years and left me with my Italian grandmother, and I missed her even before I knew her. (My father left with her, and they’d come back for holidays and then take off again.) I think I felt from a very young age that I’d done something wrong, something to displease her or to make it easier for her to leave me. Childlike, I know. So I got the bright idea that the best way to not be left is to stay on the emotional move, and that’s what my characters do, in spite of the lead in their baggage. (Enough with the luggage analogies!) They take risks and live secret lives because they’re so afraid to just stay put and love, to ask right out in the open for what they want, which is basic and terrifying.

Mike and I check into the Hilton during the day sometimes, climb under cool sheets, open the little soaps and use every towel to make it look like we’ve been there longer than an hour or two. – “Tell Me in Italian,” FAMOUS FATHERS

Several of your characters seek this sense of belonging and importance in extra-marital affairs. What is it about affairs that draws them in?

Initially it’s the cliched stuff: The gamesmanship, the new sex, the freshly-cut routines of sneaking, the improvisational rush of near misses, which turns into a desire for the intimacy and stability of a marriage even when it’s someone else’s. My characters break into the sacred trust between husbands and wives because they don’t believe people can stay true to one another, but they also don’t want to replace wives i.e. I want to win you but not keep you because you don’t belong to me. It’s like relegating yourself to playing second chair with a shiny, rare instrument.

Infidelity in this book isn’t a means to an end; it’s a way to connect with parents whose moral compasses are on the fritz. A daughter wants to walk in her unfaithful mother’s shoes, or a woman empathizes with her father’s mistress when she becomes a mistress. How does it feel to be wanted like they are wanted, to be loved by them, to want what they want.

Brady and I meet for coffee and a sandwich. I want to stay in that small sweet space between friendship and affair. This meeting with Brady doesn’t have to resolve. If I sleep with him, what happens to the wish? – “Driveway,” FAMOUS FATHERS

It’s interesting how your characters have a tendency to flee, and yet one of the defining traits to your writing, I think, is how you can stay in emotionally complex and uncomfortable moments longer than most writers can. You don’t hurry to fill the awkward silences between characters or try to resolve their issues, which may well be with them for life.

When I’m in the heat and the squirm of a scene, I usually get a terrible craving for something from the fridge or the pantry, so I try to stay put and keep writing. (Ron Carlson‘s advice in an interview I read.) Or if I get up to nibble, I keep the scene in the front of my mind and return to my story. Sometimes I make things worse by torqueing a line of dialogue or adding a messy detail, or writing a reversal. My tendency as a person is to be a peacemaker and defuse trouble, but what does that get you in life? Delays, not resolutions. Delays don’t work in short stories. In life, well, sometimes it’s nice to buy yourself some more time.

I like my father’s friends. They were lawyers who liked classical music, and they’d come to our house and sit in opposing chairs to do comparative listening in the study. They’d drop the needle on different recordings, and listen to this or that pianist play Bach or Rachmaninoff, and argue about who was pure, who was a showman and a charlatan. I liked the showmen, but that was the wrong answer. – “How It Floods,” FAMOUS FATHERS

With son, Andrew.

Something I love about your stories is how the characters don’t arrive at a clear-cut ending or resolution, and yet the story itself reaches closure. It gives the reader the sense that the characters will live beyond the page. Any idea how you create that effect, or is it purely accidental? And if you like, I’d love to hear you talk about issues of closure and resolution and endings in stories.

What I hope for at the end of my stories is that the currency I’ve been accumulating in scenes and actions and dialogue has been spent, but that doesn’t mean that people are home tucked safely in their beds. I like that the characters are still out in the world, susceptible but relieved, smarter, at temporary peace with their decisions. All of life’s possibilities for messing up are still there, but the daughter’s on her way home, the tempted wife’s touching her husband’s hand, the mistress says a wordless goodbye to her lover from a payphone. Things have changed, but not necessarily ended, which, I hope, gives the stories a tension that continues beyond the last page.

The doctors tried to reattach her right hand, but the damage was profound, so Lillian was fitted for a prosthetic. She prefers the days when she had no hand because it was harder for her family and her doctors to rush back to normal. When she put on the fake one, it made her mother and father feel better and their faces relaxed. They were amazed, and imagined her recovery was a full-blown display of the human spirit, but it was theirs, not hers. – “A Man,” FAMOUS FATHERS

New Orleans is featured prominently in your book. Talk to me about the New Orleans you wrote about, and tell me something about it today.

I used to live in a bedroom community across the lake from New Orleans called Mandeville, and when I found myself not setting stories there anymore (“Abita Springs”) and writing about characters in New Orleans (“Intermediate Goals”) I suspected we were fixin’ to sell our house. My whole family was ready to move to New Orleans. It’s a fragile, elegant, private, sumptuous, messy, delicious,100% authentic place, and I like writing about the nooks and crannies of it that people may not have seen. My next book, a novel, was set in the city that existed before Katrina, but I’m not interested in reminiscing about or romanticizing New Orleans, so I’ve been struggling with how to move the pages I had written into this new landscape. Everyone has been affected in every which way, and there’s the steady press – of fatigue, concern, faith, readiness, optimism – on the psyche of this region, on people’s faces at the supermarket. The recovery is slow, slow going. What took three weeks to destroy, will take ten years to rebuild. I’m hoping my novel comes together in the next month, so please light a candle for me and my sweet, hurt city.

This beautiful boy is the face of New Orleans.

I’d walked with Dow out to the Mississippi River. We were close enough to the passing train to hop aboard. The wheels were so quiet on the track, it was like everything was made of soft rubber. Now, when I hear the train I think of him. I hate that. It’s my train, and when it passes twice a day I want to think of nothing but the great sound of it. Connected to no one. Zero. – “Intermediate Goals,” FAMOUS FATHERS

City Park after people came in from all over the country to pick up fallen branches, dredge the bayous, and replant. We live across the street.

Before I go to bed that night, I leave a message on his office machine, something he’ll pick up on Monday when he checks. “Do you know about bow lakes?” I ask. “Imagine that marriage is a river like the Mississippi that twists and bends back on itself. Some of the water spreads out over open land and stays to make a lake, a bow lake. Still. Away from the current, with reedy banks and cattails and schools of fish and diving pelicans…”

“Renny,” he picks up. “I’m here working. Slow down. You don’t have to talk me into this.”

“It’s not you I’m convincing, love.”

I ask him for a secret his wife doesn’t know. – “Tell Me in Italian,” FAMOUS FATHERS

Bayou.

I’ll keep my mother’s hurricane glass as a souvenir of the night, to remember how rare it is to be loved for even a minute like you’re new. – “Running the Room,” FAMOUS FATHERS

I just want to close the interview by saying something about this book and about your writing, in general. Probably more than any other writer I’ve read, your sentences thrill me by your choice of words, your descriptions, the rhythm, the emotional honesty, and the note you end on. I’ve waited a long, long time to see your work collected properly between a pretty cover, and I can’t wait for the novel. xo

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Pia Z. Ehrhardt lives in New Orleans with her husband and son. Famous Fathers & Other Stories is her first book. Her work has been published in McSweeney’s, Mississippi Review, Oxford American, and Narrative Magazine, and has been anthologized in New Sudden Fiction: Short-Shorts from American and Beyond. Her story “Driveway” was featured on NPR’s Selected Shorts. She has received numerous awards, including a Bread Loaf Fellowship and the 2005 Narrative Prize. You can also find her on Good Reads.

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P.S. Please click here and vote for Robin Slick. You can vote once a day.

{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

jonathan evison November 6, 2007 at 11:30 pm

. . . you’re as brilliant as your stories, pia!

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robinslick November 7, 2007 at 5:57 am

I am in awe of Pia. She writes sentences that never, ever leave you. My absolute favorite was a line she used in the story you mention above where a woman walks in her unfaithful mother’s s shoes called Only Tom…”I wanted to step up and join my mother’s club…make love to my husband’s best friend, straighten my hair, go back home and prepare dinner, sit across the table from my husband and son with this secret dripping into my panties.”

“this secret dripping into my panties” just about killed me.

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Betsy November 7, 2007 at 8:14 am

Pia, you had me at ‘the crumminess of channel 10′. I truly look forward to reading this book. Thanks, Sue!

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Myfanwy Collins November 7, 2007 at 8:44 am

What a beautiful, perfect, loving interview. I loved this book very much and Pia is definitely one of my favorite writers–she’s an inspiration and a remarkable human being. Thank you, Susan and Pia.

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Kimberly November 7, 2007 at 9:20 am

Wow.

Just… wow.

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Kim Chinquee November 7, 2007 at 9:23 am

Great interview, Sue and Pia! Thank you.

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EllenMeister November 7, 2007 at 9:48 am

Great timing as I finished this gorgeous, excruciating book just this weekend! I need an endless supply of socks because Pia never stops knocking them off.

Wonderful interview, Sue.

xo

P.S. Everyone please vote for Robin Slick for Best Diarist in the 2007 Weblog Awards!
http://2007.weblogawards.org/polls/best-diarist-1.php

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SusanHenderson November 7, 2007 at 10:09 am

Jonathan, and everyone whose picture is still a blue guy with a question mark in his head – If you want to put up a picture, click the blue question mark guy by your name, and then (help me out here, Terry, you know I’m not much of a tekkie) click “claim this thingie.” Then, I think you can fill things out about your web page and so on. And I think there’s a white box or a frame or something and you can sort of drag it over whatever picture you upload, and …. Terry, help!

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SusanHenderson November 7, 2007 at 10:10 am

I remember that line well.

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SusanHenderson November 7, 2007 at 10:11 am

Thanks for being here, Betsy. It’s funny, because when I read your book, I was thinking, oh, Pia and Betsy will love each other’s writing.

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SusanHenderson November 7, 2007 at 10:12 am

Thank you, Myf. xo

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SusanHenderson November 7, 2007 at 10:13 am

I think that’s pretty much what I said, page after page, with this book. You’ll love this one. I am so sure of that.

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SusanHenderson November 7, 2007 at 10:13 am

Kim, I’m so glad to see you here!

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SusanHenderson November 7, 2007 at 10:16 am

Ellen, we need to have lunch soon before it’s Thanksgiving season. And I’m still waiting to vote for Robin because they have this strict 24-hour thing, and I can’t vote again until the afternoon, apparently. I can’t believe she’s neck and neck with an Ann Coulter fan. I will not have an Ann Coulter fan win this award. It would make me feel dirty.

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Laura Benedict November 7, 2007 at 10:27 am

I love the intimacy here, and the way you love your characters, Pia.

Yes, Susan, I want to be a better writer already! Thanks, guys!

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Gail Siegel November 7, 2007 at 10:45 am

I can’t say enough about Pia. She’s a brilliant writer, a trusted friend, a generous person, a devoted, big-hearted mother. When you read Famous Fathers, and you WILL read it, you will not believe you are reading a first book. Many fine writers publish a half dozen books before they pull together such a seamless collection. Pia has earned every award she’s gotten, and more.

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jasonboog November 7, 2007 at 10:50 am

Susan–I have a problem. I actually am blue man with a question mark on my head. I put up this picture of somebody else that I found on the Internet.

Seriously, great interview. Her luggage metaphors will come in very handy the next time my characters are staring at each other having insipid conversations. Thanks for this…

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billie November 7, 2007 at 11:10 am

These excerpts are amazing – I’m buying the book today! Thanks for a wonderful interview – can’t wait to read the stories in full.

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deb November 7, 2007 at 11:12 am

Thanks Sue! Terrific interview. I really enjoyed this collection. It was dangerous collection because I could not put a story down once it started it. It led to numerous problems:

“YES ,LET THE DOG DRINK CLOROX AND SHUT UP, YOU MOTHER IS READING….” “YES YES, DIVORCE SOUNDS OK WITH ME, NOW SHUTUP I’M READING…. ” “I KNOW THE LIGHT IS NOW GREEN, STOP HONKING, DAMNIT I’M READING….”

(joking joking. my dog never drank clorox, i am not divorced and i always just let the cars honk, i never talk to strangers at traffic lights)

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Aurelio November 7, 2007 at 11:13 am

Thank you, Pia and Susan. You’ve given me a lot to think about as I complete and rewrite my own novel.

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Aimee November 7, 2007 at 11:19 am

Yes, wow! I am buying this book ASAP. Also, the nooks and crannies of New Orleans are the best parts. My candle is lit because I miss terribly the New Orleans of my childhood. I cannot wait to read about it.

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Aimee November 7, 2007 at 11:21 am

Ah, that good huh? Its okay we’ve all had the clorox fantasy when reading a good book!

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Sarah Bain November 7, 2007 at 11:52 am

Oh, yay!, I was wondering when Pia would be featured. Can I just say, “Wow!” I love this book and when I read it, I had to read sentences outloud to T even though he’d already read it. He kept saying, “I know. I read that.” And I would say, “Okay, but listen, listen to this sentence.” Pia is lovely and wonderful and astonishing and buy it for all your family and friends for a cozy holiday gift! Pia, we love you! And glad to see that picture of Andrew–hope he’s staying out of trouble! :)

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J November 7, 2007 at 12:27 pm

I’m so glad Pia is here today. There are more words I’d like to say than what I dare.
I’ve already bought numerous copies of her book—give them as gifts, layer them beside my bed, and regularly laugh, weep, hope and swear my way through reading it.
This counts as one of my top three park days ever.
xoxj

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Kimberly November 7, 2007 at 1:20 pm

p.p.s. if you have access to multiple IP addresses/computers, you can vote once a day from EACH of them. :-)

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Jordan November 7, 2007 at 1:41 pm

A fabulous interview. I’m so glad you featured Pia. A few of us have been watching her from the sidelines for many years wondering when her star would take off. It clearly has.

Thanks Sue

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JamesRSpring November 7, 2007 at 2:04 pm

I braved the new technology to play in The Park today just so I could comment on Pia.

Man, I love me some Pia.

I was introduced to her work by Tom Jenks, editor of Narrative Magazine and the arbiter of great writing (He edited a little book by a guy named HEMINGWAY!).

I can’t believe that it took this long for Pia’s work to be collected between covers. It gives me hope, and yet, at the same time, nausea. She shouldn’t have had to wait.

Congratulations, Pia.

(PS – Susan, I’ll try to figure out your avatar requirement later today).

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lance_reynald November 7, 2007 at 2:18 pm

“How does it feel to be wanted like they are wanted, to be loved by them, to want what they want.”

um… this is going to be with me a while.

kinda caught up with it and my mind is racing though what it means, to me.

you may have won me for life with that one sentence… I need to keep that one with me for a few days before I can really comment… but, that one there just dog-eared a page for me.

beautiful chat! Thanks to both of you!

xo.

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jodyreale November 7, 2007 at 2:35 pm

I want to read this so much. The good news is that there’s absolutely nothing stopping me.

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dan November 7, 2007 at 3:15 pm

I love it when writing takes a moment and sort of MRI’s it – slices it into infinitely small constituent moments so you can hold each one up to the light and appreciate how it’s structured and how they flow one to the next. It’s especially great when these are moments you might even see as you walk around, if you’re paying attention. I always wonder who’s got a really juicy secret when I am out and about. These stories encourage me to imagine that they all do, and that makes walking about so much more entertaining…

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SusanHenderson November 7, 2007 at 4:22 pm

So nice to read all of these notes. Today’s my son’s birthday, so we’re headed to dinner and other things. I’ll check in later tonight if I can. Thanks to everyone for stopping by!

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Pia Z. E. November 7, 2007 at 4:42 pm

I woke up early this morning and it felt like Christmas, knowing I’d be on LitPark today. I feel lucky as all get out to be in Sue’s considerate and expert hands.

Dan – yes! Secrets! We get to make up what people probably won’t be telling us.

Jody – Uh oh. I hope you’re not disappointed.

Lance – I’m honored to have a sentence rolling around in your head.

James – Aw, man . . . keep talking, okay? Some opinions you never want to end.

Jordan – Your support has meant/means a lot to me. You were FF’s first press.

Mysterious J – laughing, weeping, hoping and swearing is more than I could hope to make a reader do. Sweet.

Sarah – I like the picture of you reading stuff to Terry that he’s already heard. ha. Andrew’s, of course turned back into a wonderful kid his senior year of HS, ensuring that I will miss him like crazy when he goes to college. Last year I was ready for him to go. Sort of.

Aimee – Where did you live in New Orleans? The weather’s outrageously pretty lately. Cold fronts coming through, one after the other, leaving behind cool, clear air.

Aurelio – I will never forget you in your costumes. Also, writing a novel’s bloody hard, isn’t it? I wish you could finish mine.

Deb – Oh, lord, you’re funny. I can see/hear you saying all of this. You should do web stand up.

Billie – Thanks for reading the book. I hope it’s okay.

I love my Gail.

Laura – Hey. I try to take care of my characters, and not load up on anyone in particular. It’s easier to be empathetic on the page than in life, for me.

Ellen – my husband read your post to me (I was driving to the dentist – and we both burst out laughing. And, yes, voting daily for the web’s most rockin’ mom, Robin Slick.

Kim – hi! And a hug.

Kimberly – also, hi! And hey!

Myf – I’m so glad to know you here and 3D. xo

Betsy – I love your work. And Roy says you’re the bomb. Next time I’m in Chicago, I’m comin’ to see you.

Robin – my Philadelphia sister. Hey! Aren’t you due a trip to New Orleans? Do your kids ever play here? (I’m voting daily.)

Jonathan – the first comment out of the gate this morning, which wins you a special seat in my heart forever. I agree: We need a pho-to. We need a pho-to.

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Kimberly November 7, 2007 at 4:51 pm

I don’t want to steal from Pia’s thunder, but I’m procrastinating something fierce today (the muse must have taken a sick day without telling me) and I thought there might be a few people who would might want to add this to their Amazon “Wish Lists” right after “Famous Fathers”

http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2007/11/07/teen_girls/index.html

The next generation of writers has arrived.

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Betsy November 7, 2007 at 6:23 pm

Aw!

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Carolyn_Burns_Bass November 7, 2007 at 7:59 pm

Pia said: “When I’m in the heat and the squirm of a scene, I usually get a terrible craving for something from the fridge or the pantry, so I try to stay put and keep writing.” Hurray! I’m not the only writer who feels such agony in the throes of a scene. Sometimes I’ll get up and start cleaning the grout in the kitchen, or sort out all the dead inkpens from my desk drawer, anything to avoid the tension. After I’ve forced myself through the scene, my heart slows down my mind stops racing, and it’s one tremendous ahh. Afterglow.

The gorgeous cover of FAMOUS FATHERS would have been enough for me to pick this book off a shelf. Now that I’ve read these excerpts, and learned the stories feature one of my favorite cities, I can’t wait to go get it.

I almost wrote about New Orleans as my favorite place to travel last week. I’m lighting a candle for you and for your city, Pia.

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Noria November 7, 2007 at 8:16 pm

I special ordered Famous Fathers from two different bookstores in two different counties. It never came. I re-ordered it yesterday and I can’t wait to FINALLY read it.

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Alicia G. November 7, 2007 at 11:48 pm

This interview made me pull out my copy and put it on my pillow to do it all over again. I love the way Pia tells stories, I love the stories that she tells. This book is a jewel. And what a great service you do, Susan Henderson, for putting out the word. What a handsome site this is!

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Nathalie November 8, 2007 at 2:01 am

Thank you both for the interview.
This sounds like an interesting book. I think I am going to need another set of bookshelves for all the books that are currently waiting for me to find the time to read them. Right now the pile is trying to take over the cookbooks and Cd shelves. Unruly bunch…

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Shelley November 8, 2007 at 2:27 am

Strong and terrific, Pia!

Robin, I’m voting for you, too.

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Betsy November 8, 2007 at 8:22 am

Aw, thanks, Pia! I say Roy is the bomb. Anyway for sure come see me up here and I’ll do the same if I ever get back down your way!

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Aimee November 8, 2007 at 9:41 am

I never lived in New Orleans. But all my family trips were there because my Grandparents and aunts and uncles were there. And they all survived Katrina! Aren’t I lucky? Anyway, I learned at the age of about eight not to go where the tourists were. Except Cafe Du Monde, because what eight year-old doesn’t love powdered sugar? My SO tells everyone about his first trip there because we didn’t do the tourist stuff and we had an amazing time. (Also he was invited to a crab boil at the neighbors and he thought they were saying a crab ball and imagined a big ball of crab meat.) Poor confused MidWesterner!

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Avital November 8, 2007 at 11:01 am

It takes good writer to be such an interesting interviewee. I love the stories in FF, because they are raw but sophisticated, a combination you don’t find much. Thanks for the profound questions, Sue, and for your replies, pia.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:53 pm

Great to see you here, Avital! xo

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:53 pm

I’ve got a crazy to-read list, too, and I just bought another book today because everyone’s been recommending it.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:54 pm

Alicia!

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:54 pm

Thank you for ordering it, Noria! xo

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:55 pm

Aww. Thank you, Carolyn.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:55 pm

Ooh, that one looks fun!

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:56 pm

You’re the best, PZ. Love.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:57 pm

Such a word geek. Just like me.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:58 pm

Yay! us know how you like it.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:59 pm

I’ll take a report from Portland’s Wordstock Festival, whenever you have one.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:59 pm

Really, the only avatar requirement is chest hair, so you’re good, James. xo

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 2:00 pm

Jordan’s a star ready to take off, too.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 2:01 pm

Nice to hear from you, oh mysterious one.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 2:02 pm

That’s really cute, Sarah.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 2:03 pm

Thank you, Aimee! I hope you love it.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 2:03 pm

I like knowing how close you are to finishing yours.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 2:06 pm

Come to think of it, two different strangers talked to me at traffic lights last night. Both were just smiley and waving and stuff. Must have been the moon.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 2:07 pm

The stories are tremendous in full. Nice to see you here, Billie.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 2:07 pm

We could say the same about you, Gail.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 2:09 pm

Here’s a link for Laura’s book: http://www.powells.com/biblio/0345497678?&PID=32322

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 2:10 pm

I voted today! (P.S. Yes, to your note. I put it on the calendar.)

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Aurelio November 8, 2007 at 2:28 pm

Writing this novel seems endless, Pia! It’s a silly book too, like my first, but I have fallen deeply in love with these characters and want to present them in the best way possible. Also being continuously and consistently silly is a lot harder than it might seem.

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Nathalie November 8, 2007 at 2:37 pm

I am trying to stay away from bookshops as much as I can but then Internet ambushes me…
There is no winning.
And this month, with NaNoWriMo, no (or limited) reading for me so the to-read pile is having a few laughs at my expense.

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Mary Akers November 8, 2007 at 5:06 pm

This is such an amazing collection! Thank you for highlighting it, Susan. Pia’s writing slays me.

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lance_reynald November 8, 2007 at 5:49 pm

so, what do we writers do when you let us out of our cells…
if Hemingway is believed we eat and drink like champs!
Yum! http://www.dougfirlounge.com/menus.html

and like to act like really big children and can’t resist jumping on the bed?
Boing!
http://www.jupiterhotel.com/see.php

and don’t even get me started on how hard it is to resist the tattoo shop they have in the lobby!!!

more from the frontlines of wordstock this weekend… I think I need to go jump a bit more.

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Dennis Mahagin November 8, 2007 at 5:55 pm

Awesome interview!

–dm

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Pia Z. E. November 8, 2007 at 5:56 pm

Locals love beignets, and the coffee with steamed milk. Yum.

A big ball of crab meat sounds good. Picking blue point crabs takes a lot of work and tears up your hands. Worth it though.

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Pia Z. E. November 8, 2007 at 5:58 pm

New Orleans awaits you. The French Quarter’s never looked better because they widened the sidewalks on Canal Street and most of the majestic crown palms survived the water. Visit!!

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Carolyn_Burns_Bass November 8, 2007 at 7:37 pm

I like that Pia’s not afraid to use the word “panties.” So many people–women included–have fits over the word. What’s wrong with “panties” anyway?

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Carolyn_Burns_Bass November 8, 2007 at 8:23 pm

Actually, we visited New Orleans the summer following Katrina. During our vacation there, my two kids worked for Habitat for Humanity in Musician’s Village, while I wrote and wrote and could barely stop writing. My heart broke for the proud city and its incredible residents. One of my favorite short stories resulted from that trip.

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 9:03 pm

Thanks, Dennis!

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SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 9:04 pm

Hi Mary! Me, too.

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Claudia November 9, 2007 at 7:56 pm

What a beautiful interview. I can’t wait to read Pia’s novel.

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SusanHenderson November 9, 2007 at 8:30 pm

She’ll do that city right in her novel.

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Pia Z. E. November 10, 2007 at 11:03 am

I hope you’re right, Sue, and thanks, Claudia. I might’ve finally figured out how to work the old novel into the new work about the city.

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Pia Z. E. November 10, 2007 at 11:09 am

Thanks to Dennis, Claudia, Mary, Avital, Nathalie, Shelley, Alicia and Noria for reading our interview and sending such kind notes! All of you in this thread have lifted my spirits up, up, up. I wish we could do this again in about six months, or sooner.

Go Saints!

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Pia Z. E. November 10, 2007 at 11:10 am

Isn’t it a wonderful place? I love readers/writers who come out to play.

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Pia Z. E. November 10, 2007 at 11:11 am

Yikes. What countries? IWas Canada on of them? Thanks for not giving up, Noria.

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Pia Z. E. November 10, 2007 at 11:16 am

What great kids you have! The Musician’s Village is one of the rebuild’s bright spots..

Two actors – one of them in K-Ville – are doing a series of performances of Waiting for Godot set right there in the middle of the Lower Nine, under the stars. They’re drawing hundreds of people.

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Katrina Denza November 13, 2007 at 8:31 am

This is a wonderful and rich interview–just like Pia’s writing.

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