1. Without responding in complete sentences, what would you say THE MAN WITH EIGHT PAIRS OF LEGS is about?
Leslie Kirk Campbell: *BODIES PHYSICALLY MARKED BY MEMORIES: The way our bodies hold our pasts, visibly – bruises, scars, tattoos – and invisibly over a lifetime, or through generations. How this guides us. How this makes us feel as we sit in a chair or walk down the street.
*RISKING EVERYTHING TO ESCAPE THE CARDS WE’VE BEEN DEALT: Longing for something other than our current circumstances; courting danger in our efforts to escape
2. Where did you write THE MAN WITH EIGHT PAIRS OF LEGS? Do you have any special writing routines or rituals? Do they change with each project, or remain constant over time?
Leslie Kirk Campbell: I work best when I can work intensely for hours on end. I teach on my own schedule so I can write for days and into the night – at home, now that my sons are grown; at an old convent across the Golden Gate Bridge, and at residencies and self-made retreats. I often start my writing day by reading a writer I esteem, and then I take off, inspired, on my own writing projects.
“History and memory crosscut through The Man with Eight Pairs of Legs in a gorgeous weave. These are marvelous, stirring stories, sometimes sexy, sometimes harrowing, somehow both timeless and timely. Campbell writes with great depth, patience, wisdom, and beauty.”
— Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light You Cannot See
3. If you weren’t writing, you would be…
Leslie Kirk Campbell: Time disappears when I am in my backyard garden, muddying my hands planting, trimming and weeding, scarring my hands with rose thorns, then taking a few moments to sit in the sun and delight in my collaboration with nature. I read. I relish teaching the Art of Languaging. I have heart-felt dates with those I love.
4. What book did you recently read that you can’t stop thinking about?
Leslie Kirk Campbell: I am particularly interested in books that take me into cultures and places I know little about. A recent favorite is:
Sharks in the Time of Saviors, a novel by Kawai Strong Washburn, with its original and beautiful conveying of poverty and family within the context of old Hawaiian culture, hard realities combined with myth and magic.
Currently reading, Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance, an honest documentation of Appalachian poverty and culture, giving social and historical context to feelings of defeat and neglect experienced by white blue-collar families in the US
BOTH ARE ESSENTIAL READING.
I also highly recommend the following novels recently read, all powerfully written:
Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor
The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obrecht
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
The Confession of Copeland Cane by Keenan Norris
*The above is an excerpt from my mini interview with Leslie Lindsay, self-declared Book Nerd. Read the full article here.