edgelitandotherart: Should the characters in Black Cloud embrace the absurd, or continue to escape life’s contemporary questions? What do you think?
I don’t think they should continue attempting to escape. I’m not fond of fiction with a moral message, but I feel like if someone wanted to find some sort of instructive value from the work, the best take-away is that living a life based on escapism leads to misery.
I know very little about philosophy and I’m far from an expert on Camus or absurdism, but I do know that Camus saw three options: suicide, finding faith in some sort of God, and embracing the absurd. Camus thought the God thing was unacceptable, but this never made much sense to me. God doesn’t have to be religion. God can just be the things we don’t understand, and in this way finding faith can be so similar to embracing the absurd that I don’t see the point in separating them. Sometimes atheists are much more militant and short-sighted than the religious people they condemn.
edgelitandotherart: People will have to read your collection to understand this question. Are the good guys and the bad sometimes the same, or perhaps always the same?
I think most people have to fully understand the dark in order to truly feel the light. A lot of times “good guys” are just sissy bitches who can’t face reality. A lot of times good guys are small-hearted hypocrites. But sometimes bad guys are sissy bitches too, though. It’s a lot easier to be nasty than vulnerable.
edgelitandotherart: In your story “I Do Not Question It” the narrator says, “The hateful texts led to more sex. This process repeated itself, until one day it stopped. This was all a long time ago. This was back when we were different people.”
Do you believe like the narrator that people change and become different?
I think the inside is always the same. As a small child, I was cranky and stuck in my own head and I couldn’t ever sleep. I’m still this way. This is my disposition, and I don’t think dispositions change much. But our habits change and so do our beliefs, the things we surround ourselves with, and sometimes our values. We tell stories about ourselves to ourselves, whether we’re aware of this or not, and then we live in accordance to these stories. But things can alter these stories.
I have a former life of me as a grad student in New York City. I have a former life as a junky waitress. I have a former life as a suicidal teen. All of these are different people than who I am now, although there are many things that have remained the same throughout all the different lives.
edgelitandotherart: In the final story: Trouble and Troubledness, your stories seem to come full circle. The narrator reflects and seems to question what is reality and who are the ones defining it. Do you feel we make our own reality, or reality is always the same?
I had a dream the other night and it was May of 2012. It felt exactly like May of 2012 did for me. I was doing the same things I did in May of 2012, the weather was the same, I was wearing the same clothes. I don’t know if I believe in like, eternal return or any of that stuff, but that dream felt so real that I wonder if I was actually living in 2012 again.
Reality is tough for me. If I think about it too much, I get very depressed.
edgelitandotherart: What can readers expect next from Juliet Escoria? A novel? Short stories? And what will these or this project be about? And what book will you read (for personal enjoyment) next?
I think I am making an autobiography. I want to tell the story of me and those around me, and who I was at the beginning of my life and how I got to where I am now. I want to take a bunch of stuff – things of all different genres and forms – and glue it all together and call it a book. There will be things in the book that aren’t true at all, and some will be totally true, and it will be impossible to figure out which is which. I don’t know if this experiment will work, though. That’s okay if it doesn’t. Black Cloud came from a failed writing venture.
It’s pretty sad but I really don’t read much anymore. I don’t know what happened. I think maybe grad school killed it. Either that or the internet.
Here’s some things that give me personal enjoyment: Nicorette, cheese-stuffed pretzels, buying new clothes, going on trips, writing things that turn out the way I want them to, people telling me that my writing made them experience emotions, rubbing my dog’s stomach, driving long distances with my boyfriend, looking at the engagement ring he gave me, staying in hotels, Red Bull, crying, carne asada tacos, breaking stuff, and sleeping.
photo credit: Ben Irwin