Gina Evers, Interview & Excerpt
In Capital Letters (ICL): What do you want remember about the program in 10 years?
That it is possible to hold down a full-time job and still make time to write.
ICL: From being part of the program and participating in workshops and the Visiting Writers series, what do you think are the most important things you have learned about your own writing? How has your writing changed?
I've learned what my strengths are as a writer, and I've learned to write away from them in order to develop other skills.
ICL: What have you read most recently that inspired you?
Stacie Cassarino's Zero at the Bone.
Behind sawdust-veiled air, screeching and pounding,
my grandfather built furniture. He couldn't speak English,
couldn't talk about the war. In twelve-hour shifts, he hid pieces of himself
in the copper knobs, in the waves of carved woodwork like the coast of the Adriatic—
a home he had lost and, then, shut away inside an attic trunk.
Now the trunk's in my mother's basement, still concealing the framed map
of the Istrian peninsula inside Italian borders. After his funeral, my mother sat
fingering the leg of an endtable. She said they didn't tell the soldiers what was going on
in the war camps. He was only fighting to keep the farmhouse he was born in,
for his brothers and his new wife who he wanted to take there
to live always bumped up with the sea. I remember watching his fingertips,
yellowed with tobacco, tearing through skin and yanking bones from mackerels.
The fish's steamed eyes shone like sequins as he ripped pieces of flesh
and placed them onto my tongue: salty and dry; his fingers bitter.
"At the Three O'clock Glass Blowing Demonstration"
Showing off, you dip your rod into the color crystals, working the iron, threatening to brand one of the beauties sitting in the front row. "What would you like, Sweetheart?" A swan. Of course she wants a swan. Don't you know the gaffers in Murono have been doing this for centuries? How precisely, carefully each cane of color is divided into the thinnest ligaments, spun together into a murrine? How they work blind, unable to see the millefiori until after the cane is sliced into beads? A soffiatoro will be in the oven up to his elbows, documenting each spin of the glass with flames in his retinas. When he pulls back from the fire he will only see his hands working in a world of green aura and fluid, dark orbs. To make any object, any effigy, he will wait until the glass consents to an exchange of breath: a gift from his lungs for a gift from the earth. Exempt from persecution by the lion's mouth, by the Palazzo Ducale and its tortures while the rest of Venice cobbled together their fears and judgments. And here I am, watching you handle something so pure. Watching you set it ablaze. Watching you break it. You let the glass cool too quickly and the violet streak of swan's neck snapped as you flicked your iron through the smoke. "Don't worry, Sweetie," you winked. "There's plenty more where that came from."