Micah Perks, author of the Shebook Alone in the Woods, chats about her distaste for semicolons, her Incredible Hulk strength, and her upcoming writing projects.
Is there anything that you consider too personal to write about? How do you find that edge?
I can’t think of anything “too” personal to write about myself, but I do try to be really careful when writing about other people. When I wrote my full-length memoir, Pagan Time, I showed the manuscript to my family, asked for their responses, and then included their responses in the last chapter. For Alone in the Woods, I showed the manuscript to my daughter and asked her if she was OK with it. I actually ended up including her response in the e-book, too. So, I guess giving the people I write about a chance to voice their version of the story is important to me.
How do you define “truth” in memoir?
For me, it’s simple. I can’t make anything up. Unless I make clear I’m making it up, like I say, I imagine…
Do you currently have a job other than writing? What’s the most interesting day job you’ve had?
I love my job as a professor, but I really enjoyed teaching water aerobics way back. I would make everyone get in a conga line, and we’d bounce down the edge of the pool to Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.”
What’s an odd fact about you that not many people know?
I’m secretly really, really strong, like Incredible Hulk strong.
What is your favorite word right now?
I don’t know, but my least favorite word is gonna used in prose. And being—I hate that conjugation of to be, too. I also hate semicolons.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love so many authors. But favorite authors who write about women who could make it alone in the woods—Charlotte Bronte, Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Marilynne Robinson, Angela Carter, Sarah Waters, and most recently I loved The Wall by Marlen Haushofer.
What writing projects are you working on now?
I’m finishing up a story about Typhoid Mary, writing an essay about Edith Wharton, and just finished a novel that took me over ten years to write, A Shadow, A Blast, A Bubble.
Aside from writing, do you have any other secret talents?
Nothing besides the incredible secret strength I mentioned before
Micah Perks is author of the Shebook, Alone in the Woods