Elizabeth Crane II (BSS #195)

Elizabeth Crane is most recently the author of You Must Be This Happy to Enter.

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Failing to understand why so many people are happy.

Author: Elizabeth Crane

Subjects Discussed: The unwarranted stigma behind the exclamation mark, what it means to be happy, zombies and reality TV, Max Brooks’s World War Z, Betty the Yeti, zombie sex, pushing the envelope further, shaking the DFW yoke, short story collections and independent publishers, the novel in stories vs. a short story collection, disappearing publicists, David Foster Wallace’s “Host,” Joyce Carol Oates, dwelling more on a concept for a story, writing stories to read out loud, Stories on Stage, Joe Meno, stories composed only of one paragraph, the conversation as an organism, the new boyfriend in relation to the misfit spirit, enclosed spaces, happiness in contemporary fiction and as a legitimate experience, the chatty quality within Crane’s stories, concern for mass media, iPods, writing about the future, cardboard, judgment, and bald men.


Correspondent: I wanted to first of all ask you about the story, “My Life is Awesome! And Great!”

Crane: Yes.

Correspondent: Which uses exclamation marks quite effusively!

Crane: Yes.

Correspondent: And I’m wondering if this was your effort to reclaim the exclamation mark. I mean, it has a bit of a stigma these days, I would think.

Crane: (laughs) It’s underrated. It’s underappreciated.

Correspondent: It really is!

Crane: Yes. I really was just having fun. I mean, I do think that there are personalities out there who are overenthusiastic. Or over-optimistic about this date of their lives. And I was sort of inspired by that. But I wasn’t consciously thinking, “It’s time for Crane to bring back the exclamation point.”

Correspondent: (laughs) Well, I mean, there’s a certain kind of gusto. Because there’s a perseverance here in the constant stream of sentences that all end in exclamation marks as all these woes are communicated.

Crane: Exactly. That’s what I was really trying to say. I’m going to just carry on in the face of everything.

Correspondent: But it’s not just that. There’s this interesting semantic quality because we have a scenario in which we see all range of emotions through these sentences.

(To listen to our previous conversation with Elizabeth Crane, go here.)


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