Aimee Bender, who’s up for a SCBA Award for her collection of strange and surreal stories Wilful Creatures, gets the Luke Ford treatment in an interview. Verging on surreal himself, Luke asks those questions that spring, unbidden,in everyone’s head, but most of us strangle the impulse to actually ask. To wit:
Luke: “You’ve never done phone sex as a profession.”
Aimee: “No, but even if I had, I wouldn’t tell you.”
Bender, who teaches at USC, grew up in the Palisades and has an MFA from UC Irvine. Her story Quiet Please is right here, thanks to her publisher, which seems a generous thing to do. Her website has great child-like illustrations, but is a tich annoying to navigate.
Luke’s interview technique see-saws between pick-up lines and genuinely insightful questions, and Aimee rolls with the pretend-punches and then responds to a real question in a way that’s thrilling:
Luke: “Is there some force that pushes literary people to write despair?”
Aimee: “Sometimes it is the honest place people go when they push themselves. When it is fake despair to join the club, that is even more despairing. One of the reasons people like Charles Bukowski is that he puts voice to these [despairing] feelings and it gives release and freedom.”