with Charlene Elsby:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Charlene: I started writing in high school. My first influences were Nabokov, Dostoevsky, Freud, Nietzsche, Goethe, Sade, and especially August Strindberg.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Charlene: Well, I’m still reading Nabokov, but also Cioran, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty. I was never into Kafka, but now I am.
Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Charlene: No pivotal moments. It was more of a constant burning resentment of people who were already doing these things, because I wanted to do them too.
Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?
Charlene: The people who have published me.
Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?
Charlene: I grew up in southern Ontario and when I started writing, I was living in a trailer, and I got my books used on eBay, because then I could pay for them with money orders from the post office. (I wasn’t old enough to have a credit card.) It was on the edge of town, and there wasn’t much to do, so I read a lot, and that influenced me for sure. When I got an academic job, that gave me a travel budget for conferences and research, which was amazing. I wrote most of Affect in Leuven, Belgium, while researching Husserl’s manuscripts on the phenomenology of time.
Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
Charlene: Hexis was really raw, and I didn’t have a concept at the time of what it was like for people to read your work, and I think that made it special. Affect is more intentional, like I wrote that one on purpose; it’s got nuance. Psychros is what happened once Clash enabled me. When they took Hexis, I took that as license to do whatever I want and started writing Psychros.
Q7: Favorite activities to relax?
Charlene: Awful television.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem/writing of yours or others?
Charlene: I don’t know if it’s a favorite, but I think about it a lot–this line from The Misfits by Arthur Miller. Marilyn Monroe says it in the movie: “Maybe all there really is is just the next thing. The next thing that happens. Maybe you’re not supposed to remember anybody’s promises.”
Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Psychros from Clash Books on October 12, 2021. And I recently published a story called “Agyny” on selffuck.help.