I blush (and cringe) at her praise, but Kimberly has a Ph.D. in comparative literature from New York University, which leaves me little room to argue. I will try to accept her compliments gracefully. It is something that does not come easily to many women; I will take up the challenge on behalf of the many of us who underestimate ourselves, and leave it there.
I am now several months into my writing adventure. I have been asked if I am lonely; in fact, my life and writing are more collaborative than anything I’ve ever experienced. I crave engagement; I reach out and boldly grab experiences, ideas, and opinions.
Kimberly has been the key player in this collaborative and engaged process that I am only in some infancy of exploring. We compare our ideas and thought processes; we suggest, we argue; we rewrite, experiment, hold ground, or note well for future consideration. We explore the ways in which we are each in dialogue with other writers, with the past, with the future.
Kimberly and I work well together–and against each other. We are mostly a study in contrasts. Where she is prolific, I am stingy; where she gushes, I percolate; where she dives in headlong, I hesitate (or procrastinate, if there is a difference). Where my writing is realistic, hers is, above all else, visceral: one feels her words under the skin, on the tongue, in the gut. I will suggest a frame (we are both obsessed with frames) that is restricted by historical context; she will say, “What if ALIENS were narrating the story?” Either could be productive.
I had never thought of myself as a realist (and I can’t even say I’m a fan). But I do seek the detail. Does that pretty little weed have thorns as well as flowers? Of course, but that is not enough. Do the flowers last in a vase? Is the plant poisonous, edible, or medicinal? Is it native to the landscape? Does it grow in rich soil, or poor? Do its seeds scatter via the wind, or in bird guano, or bison dung? Or does it reproduce asexually underground? If the little weed belongs in my narrative, it should almost be a symbol (at the least, a metaphor or motif). I guess I am a realist; I cannot deny the charge.
Kimberly’s flash/prose poem piece “Entanglement,” standing first and alone as it does, appears at my request. While I am the furthest thing from a physicist, from the moment Kim mentioned the quantum physics phenomenon of “entanglement” I have been obsessed. In the shortest layman’s terms possible (forgive me!), the spin of one electron–only once it is measured–may affect the spin of other electrons in a defined group, even if the group is separated widely by space. Entanglement may explain the conversion of one kind of energy to another, or even how time exists (and doesn’t).
Entanglement is a metaphor turned real for collaboration: for how writing (all art) is engaged with the time and energy of other art, once it is considered. It is at the least a way to understand how Kimberly and I came to read (and then fail to read) David Foster Wallace at exactly the same time without consulting the other, or how we each believe the other “discovered” the tale of Richard Rolle and Margaret Kirkby, wrote our independent apocryphal stories, shared them, and revised them to create completely different interpretations of the already speculative history.
I am excited to see Kimberly’s works and my own presented next to each other; I believe the collection is a study in dialogue, collaboration, and engagement. I hope Tandeta readers find themselves similarly “entangled” as you explore some of our assembled work.
Table of Contents
Not Richard Rolle
Not McMurtry, and Not McCarthy
Not Safe for Work