What is your favorite line from your piece featured in The Ginger Collect?
With “Carcinogen”, I don’t think in terms of lines as much as strophes, but “tear at that long-encrusted scar”, being its own strophe, counts as both. 25 years later (give or take a few months) and I still don’t know why I didn’t break that one up the way I did the rest.
Who is your most beloved author?
I only get one? I would have to be Wendy Walker. Since there are at least three Wendy Walkers extant in the literary world that I know of at present, I’ll specify that it’s the one who writes novels, short stories, and poetry (one of the others is a straight novelist, and the other seems to confine her published output to art criticism.
Do you have a favorite quote from this author?
Her entire The Secret Service, the most beautiful novel I have ever encountered in the English language. Unfortunately, I lent my copy to someone many years ago and never got it back, so I can’t go to the shelf and pull a random sentence from it (and you really can just pull a random sentence and come up with an amazing thing).
What inspired your piece?
Both “Carcinogen” and “The Final Syringe” were inspired by a traumatic 1991-1992 romantic relationship that ended when she chose to go back to heroin. “Carcinogen” was the earlier piece, from not long after the cessation of the relationship. “The Final Syringe” came a few years later, after I heard she’d overdosed and died. (I still don’t know if it’s true, but her complete lack of presence on the internet does tend to substantiate it.)