Ethel Rohan is the author of Hard to Say, PANK, 2011. Hard to Say won PANK’s 2010 Little Books Contest and is currently available in print and on Kindle.Hard to Say wants YOU! Visit Ethel at ethelrohan.com.
How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
My upbringing sometimes felt like riding a naked wild horse, with only its harsh mane to hold onto. I’d get so afraid on those gallops I’d let go of the horse and hit the ground hard. I can still sometimes hear the clop of my childhood and feel the build of hooves till they’re pounding.
When and why did you begin writing?
Sometimes a bruise is so lovely you don’t want it to go. Often, the worse the injury the more spectacular the bruise. It can feel good to press and squeeze a bruise, even though it hurts. No two bruises are the same and their range of shapes and colors seem limitless. Sometimes bruises disappear but they remain. Our bodies and minds are a brutal beautiful collage of the memory of bruises. Bruises, like stones, are never silent. As a child, I wrote to put bruises on the page. I still do.
Is there a message in your work that you want readers to grasp?
I’d rather drive tacks through my palms than intend to have a message in my work that I want readers to grasp.
What is the most misunderstood aspect of your work?
That my stories are too familiar. Bananas are familiar too, but each is unique and fascinating. Banana skins are green, yellow, spotted, brown, and black. Banana flesh is yellow-white and spined with brown-black. In bunches, bananas are a sun, bouquet, bowl, band of creatures–each with a single black eye. Alone, a banana is a brooch, hairband, mustache, slice of jaundiced moon. Bananas are hard and soft, smooth and ridged. Part-peeled, a banana is a flower. Fully-peeled, a banana is an albino slug. We haven’t yet invented the language to describe the taste of a banana. Bananas, like everyday stories, are sometimes mistaken as ordinary.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m in this cave so long now with a short story collection titled Goodnight Nobody and a novel titled Kisses With Teeth, I’m crusted with bat droppings. Won’t some terrific publisher somewhere please turn these manuscripts into real, hold-to-my-chest books and let me out of the foul dark.