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Orlando, Ireland

The world is a confusing place. I am in Ireland for two weeks with the writing program that I direct, and here the recent referendum on same-sex marriage is still very much on people’s minds. In 2015, Ireland became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. The vote, in the end, was not close: 62% voted Yes, with nearly every part of the country voting to support the referendum. Roscommon-South Leitrim, a rural county toward the north of the Republic, voted No by a slim margin. Everywhere else, most voters pulled the lever to approve the constitutional change. In parts of Dublin, the vote to approve same-sex marriage was almost three-to-one.

On “New Life”: An Interview with Dan O’Brien

“My aim has been to look as squarely as I can, with clear eyes, at the truth of what human beings are capable of doing to each other. This is Paul’s aim too. Denial is a killer, and if we all felt the horror that so many are forced to experience I know there would be less violence in the world. This is a conviction I’ve had about life and about my writing long before I met Paul, though in the past I probably spent most of my time concentrating on stories of emotional violence, often of child abuse. It’s all the same. The weak are exploited and abused by the powerful, and silence, obfuscation, denial is a complicity that must be confronted.”

Substantiations of Violence, Romanticism, and Lame Jokes: An Interview with Douglas Trevor

“I think the idea that writing makes people feel better is usually mistaken. Finishing a book, or a story, or an article, is an accomplishment and that should bring a measure of joy and/or relief, but I think when people set out to write about painful experiences they delude themselves when they claim that they will feel better at the end of the experience. They might feel better by virtue of finishing the book or the story, but I don’t think that means they will feel better about whatever was ailing them when they started out. I just don’t think writing cures despair. Melville says as much in his diaries, and so does Shakespeare’s speaker at the end of the Sonnets: ‘Love’s fire heats water, water cools not love.'”