Carolyn Kegel graces the January issue with Anna in the Free Floating World and today talks with J. Bradley about a Transformers/Catcher in the Rye crossover, getting lost, and the proper soundtrack for her lovely story.
1. Would “Anna In The Free-Floating World” still have its haunting effect if you rewrote certain passages in an active voice? Â Does the passive voice of the narrator contribute to the tone of the story?
I wrote this story to gain some perspective on Anna. Â She’s a character from another, much longer story I’ve been struggling with for a long time. Â I wanted to try telling the story as objectively as I could — not to take Anna’s side, just to relay the facts. Â So there’s a big range in the narrator’s perspective — here’s what’s happening here, and here’s what Anna is thinking, but I don’t think the voice is passive. Â Passive requires a form of “to be”Â and a past participle of another verb. Â For example, “the road was crossed by the chicken”Â. Â Hope this answers your question. Â It just seemed like the way to do it at the time.
2. If Anna’s car was actually a Transformer, describe what it would look like in its robot configuration. Â What role would it play in the all Transformers version of The Catcher In The Rye?
I remember reading The Catcher in the Rye and actually stepping away from the book after coming to a sentence. Â Holden is in his dorm room pretending to read Out of Africa, while pretending to ignore his neighbor, Ackley. Â Ackley is working very hard to engage Holden, while not wanting to appear too interested. Â Duplicity abounds. Â Holden’s even already read the book, he’s doing it for a second time. Â Anyway, Ackley finally asks, “What the hellya reading?”Â Â There’s been a lot of build up to this, pages of talking about lies, how incredibly illiterate Holden is, while he’s already read Thomas Hardy, Ring Lardner and Somerset Maugham. Â He goes on about how much he likes Isak Dinesen and how he wouldn’t mind calling this Isak Dinesen up. Â But all he says to Ackley is, “Goddamn book.”Â Â Â I stopped when I read that because I thought, this is Salinger talking, not Holden. Â Everything in here is intentional. Â So, the greater irony is the reader, reading Salinger’s book. Â He’s implicating the reader, saying, if you say you don’t like my book, this is what it looks like. Â I really wish you’d asked me this question a couple of weeks ago when we could have called him up and asked if that’s what he meant–.so we’ll have to go with my answer–as to your question: Â “Goddamn car.”Â
3. What animal would you be in a storybook?
As much as I’d like to fly, I think I’d prefer the life of a well-fed housecat.
4. Where do you like getting lost?
Getting lost really has no appeal, though I do like to travel to new places. Â And I’m not picky. Â I like small towns, big cities, foreign countries, beaches, parks. Â Even the mall in New Jersey is a good place sometimes.
5. Â What song or songs would you recommend listening to while reading “Anna In The Free-Floating World”?
Hopefully silence. Â But if someone wants to make a movie about Anna, I’d love to pick out the soundtrack. Â Right now, I like Brandi Carlile a lot, and Shawn Colvin, but if you really want to get into Anna’s mind, I think Wayne Dyer’s You’ll See It When You Believe It would be appropriate.