Dybek Interview

Dybek Interview

“The coming-of-age story is one that anyone who has made it to adulthood shares. If you think that writers tend to obsess over youth now, just wait a little longer as the boomers all get to write their obsessing-over-aging stories…”


“Nobody writes about youth better than Hemingway, or is more widely emulated. I admire Hemingway but having taught in Michigan all those years, if I never read another story from a student about killing his first deer it will be too soon…”


“When I was growing up, Willie Mays was still playing, and they would show his famous catch on TV over and over, with his back to the infield. I just loved watching that catch. I lived then in the inner city in a backyard with a tall building as a boundary to the yard, and I would spend hours tossing a ball off the wall of the apartment building and practicing all kinds of catches. I lost the ball into the next yard a lot, but I’d recreate that Mays catch over and over. And then I began to play a very, very shallow outfield, doing purposely-late jumps on balls that required me to turn my body. Finally, one day, the perfect hit came my way…”


“Writing has a particular kind of deceptive quality about how difficult it is—or to say it another way, of how important craft is to writing. The medium—language and words—are abstract. All the other arts come through the senses. Writing does not. If somebody wants to be a musician, it’s instinctive that you’ll have to learn how to play an instrument, to sit in a room and play guitar every day. It’s the same with dancing—your instrument is yourself; the body must be trained. The thing with writing is that in none of the other arts do we use the art as we use language, on a day-to-day level. Sculpture, for example, isn’t used the way writing is, which is for everything: grocery lists, emails. It’s deceptive; it makes you think you know something about writing…”

“Blood or fermented cabbage. The answer: if there’s a cabbage soup, I’ll take it.”


About the Author

Follow Tim Chilcote on Twitter at @TimChilcote