Can you remember back to April? Refresh your memory with this piece, “Jana Lives in This House,” and this interview with author Hazel Foster.
1. Who do you want living in your house?
Ideally me, but I don’t have a house, which is possibly/definitely why I’m obsessed with them, especially the run down type, like the house in my story. If you have a dilapidated house, especially one with outbuildings, there’s a good chance I’ll want to explore it. I’m a cowardly trespasser. One time, I stealthily entered an old catholic boarding school turned administrative building and ventured up four flights to the attic. The dormitory portion made my arms tingle–the long empty rooms meant for beds, the rows of green-blue sinks. I’d especially like to see the inside of an old wooden red barn. So if you know anyone, I’d appreciate the hookup.
2. What would you name a child?
This is a somewhat contentious subject between my significant other and I. He likes some names; I like others. Unfortunately for you, I can’t share “the list.” I’m paranoid and would hate for anyone to steal one of my baby names, like Julia Roberts stole my name and paired it with the middle name Patricia and utterly ruined it. As a child, I made lists of names I liked in my journal. I can share some of those: Alice, Gwen, Will.
3. Where did “Jana Lives In This house” come from?
Ultimately, this story comes from a road trip to Texas. All along the highway rested houses that seemed as if they could be kicked over, as if the wind ripped through them daily. The contrast between these whispy houses in Texas and the beefy ones from my home state of Michigan sparked everything about this story.
4. What’s the strangest thing you’ve done to a bible?
I’d rather not comment, but trust me there’s a story.
5. Who is your co-pilot?
My significant other. He calms me down when I’m stressed, cooks me meals when I’m sick, and rescues me from situations where I feel helpless. He’s my best friend. But let’s not get too mushy here. Jana lives in this house, is not mushy.
6. What are you willing to hide?
I’m not willing to hide much anymore beyond physical defects like stretch marks and bushy eyebrows. As a child, I was very much the opposite. Lie, cheat, steal. The whole biz. I had this fat creepy doll. Plastic head, hands, and feet, cloth stuffed body, and wiry hair. I took it in the bath with me often, and the soap eventually greased the head up enough that it came off. My parents quickly hid the doll from me, the head in the attic, the body in the garage, fearing the decapitation would traumatize me. A few years after the fact, I found the head. I was at an age when I thought the severed head was cool. I’d hide the head in a drawer and whip it out on unsuspecting guests.