introducing readers to writers since 1995

June 30, 2005

Author2Author: Joy Nicholson & Bruce Bauman, pt. 2

by Ron Hogan

Now that Joy has described the torments her characters endure, she asks Bruce about the tumultuous narratives in his fiction...

Joy Nicholson: I've wanted to ask you since I read And the Word Was. You have tackled so many large, unwieldy, psychologically terrifying issues all under the cover of one novel, and you've done it with amazing grace and simplicity. Did you know, setting out, you were going to write about loss of a child, loss of faith in God, and loss of national borders? Did it ever seem too much of a psychological burden to talk about so many different types of loss--and if so, how did you persist?

wordwas.gifBruce Bauman: The key phrase here is "set out." I started this book over a decade ago with the idea to write my version of the Abraham and Isaac myth. One that would absolutely challenge faith in God. The book lacked emotional depth--it didn't hurt, it didn't get to the horror that lives within in me--and the writing lacked the lift I wanted, so I set it aside. I was also being too "smart" for my own good.

I picked it up five years later and I was ready then, both intellectually and emotionally, to go into my pain and loss: to let my unconscious, my conscious and heart become one to create the book. And I didn't find it burdensome at all; in fact the act of writing this book was invigorating. I know that's nuts.

The last loss of borders came so naturally to the plot and character development that it was the least contemplated part of the book. I'm very political and always have been since I was a kid, so I can't imagine writing a novel without some political edge.

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