is an element of mystery because it happens so many times. It’s best if
just quit arguing with it. It’s more than serendipity. It’s more than coincidence. There’s a sense
of intelligence to it. This isn’t just random magic, this is magic for our benefit. Things are arranged
with a red line drawn under it saying Pay Attention To This.
is still paying attention. The kids are paying attention. But they’re
to the wrong thing. They’re paying attention to the loudest noise. If you’re a kid of three or four and
your parents are paying attention to television all the time, and you get in front of the television
just when there’s a gun battle going on, the parents will say, ‘Get out of the way!’ The kid is going
to say, ‘Look, what do I have to do to get attention?’ And what he does is he goes out and gets a gun
and that’s the quickest way in the world to get people’s attention. I think it’s going to be a good long
while before we get over television and the gun shows. The Wild West attitude. Let’s kill all the buffalos
because we’re white. But we have to get over that attitude or we won’t survive as a nation. We’ll tear
each other to
Perry earned a BA in poetry from the University of Iowa Writers'
author of two books of poetry and many published essays, interviews, and short stories. She was editor
and publisher of "Wild Dog Magazine," and the international literary journal, "Talus & Scree." She is
also the founder and former executive director of Writers On The Edge and the Nye Beach Writers’ Series
and is the owner of Dancing Moon Press. This interview was first published in Tin House Magazine April 2002.
kind of power;
every book they sell lands in some local household, or better yet gets passed around among
several households; and if it’s a good and worthy book, its influence in that community may
be felt for generations. Good books have resonance; they teach us how to behave, and our
behavior touches everyone around us. When a book is read by all of us—or some of us, or
even just a few of us—, it connects us to each other, via an intricate web of shared information.
You and I may not know one another at all, but we both know Randle P. McMurphy very well.
an old joke about a little boy with a toothache. His mother sends him
who pulls the offending tooth. When the boy comes home holding his still-aching jaw, his
mother says, “Well, how’s the toothache?”
“The toof don’t hurt,” the boy says ruefully, “but the toof-hole do.”
the effort to save Tsunami fails, the loss to Eugene’s arts community
incalculable. The toof-hole will hurt forever.