I am deeply aware that “truth” can be debated; all I can do as a writer is convey the truth that I’ve deduced from evidence. Each person coming to that evidence may find a different way of expressing inferences. A biography, after all, is the intersection of my own biography—my experiences, people I’ve known, my personality— with that of my subject.
The last thing I want to be in my writing is didactic and preachy, but I do want to remind my readers that, in a way, all of life is a domino effect, that people suffer a lot and for a lot of different reasons, and that we all probably need to work on our empathy skills and on paying attention a bit more.
“I first saw Apocalypse Now when I was not yet a teenager, and it was way too soon to see it. My voice would shake when I talked about it later, even in college. So I wanted to take my revenge on that movie and all of the Hollywood canon about the war, for as I say in the novel, this is the first case in history where the losers get to write the history.”
My parents were Brooklynites, urban Jews who moved to a rural town in New Jersey after they married. We were raised to believe we were in exile, that somewhere a better place awaited us where we would truly be at home. I’ve done a lot of moving around in my life, looking for that place, and eventually I found it in my work.
The voices in these poems are not often heard outside the South, and they are voices that, like the land, are being lost with the development and modernization that characterize the New South. Yet they express emotions and concerns we all share, and wherever I’ve taken this project, people are responding to it.
by Julia Mahony
“Just come visit, and I’ll introduce you to her all day long” — Rob Gipe on the origins of Dawn, the young protagonist of Trampoline.
When I was younger, I was drawn to activities for which I had a natural aptitude, but discovered that I couldn’t feel really passionate about something that didn’t require more of me than I thought I was able to give. I’ve learned a lot about how to be brave and vulnerable, fearless and reverent by fighting and writing my way forward.