Happy Birthday, Jim Shepard, born 29 December 1956
- I do find stories – or literary fiction – an apt form for analysing the world. And especially for trying to imagine the other. An agenda, again, that seems more important now than ever.
- I have become impatient with what I call the furniture moving involved in writing novels, where you have an enormous tapestry you want to set up, this whole world to set up and start to put it into motion. I’m much more attracted, lately, to getting in fast and doing something economically and then getting out again.
- Disasters occur organically in my work, in that that’s the way my thinking tends, more than that’s what I start out by planning. I’m sort of a catastrophist.
- I think fiction is all about the exercise of the empathetic imagination. Part of what I do is let the stuff I read about meld with what I have experienced.
- Does research get in the way of the story? It certainly can. Anything can, given that as writers we’re all geniuses at procrastination. But mostly research teaches me about the world. Which often shows me the way, in terms of the story.
Jim Shepard is an American novelist and short story writer who teaches creative writing and film at Williams College. He has written seven novels, including most recently The Book of Aron, and five short story collections. Visit his website: Jim Shepard