Tiny Spills | Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Tabs open on your screen right now:
Facebook, the English PEN page, and the hoard of academic articles on JSTOR that I’m promising myself I’ll read this afternoon.

If you had to brag about yourself:
I started my own religion when I was ten. I had one disciple, but after a few years my brother quit.

Your writer crush:
Zadie Smith—but I’m beginning to worry if I mention her so much she’ll get creeped out.

I’m developing one on Alice Sola Kim—who I think would be equally alarmed. So, I’ll stop naming names.

Favorite lyric:
Not quite a lyric but some lines from a poem—

The sky was the color of a cut lime
that had sat in the refrigerator
in a plastic container
for thirty-two days.
—Peridot, Mary Ruefle

Any place in the world:
Around my little kitchen table with a friend for each chair and good food on blue plates.

Best breakfast:
Hot rice, egg, torn seaweed, and sesame seeds. My grandfather used to ask for this in hotel buffets.

Favorite online places right now:
The ongoing messenger chats with my friends who live far away.

Granta, Catapult, and The Rumpus—but they just published me, so I’m biased.

Sweetest thing:
Unexpected letters, making a bus you thought you’d miss, magnolia buds, persimmons, a friend reaching out.

Your rituals (writing or not):
A midmorning snack and a new book each week.

Least impressive thing about you:
I can’t memorize poetry—not even Emily Dickinson. I’ve tried and it just flies away.

Favorite space to write:
In an empty train carriage, when I’ve got the table to myself and two pink lady apples in a bag.

What should we know:
How not to burn tea—the trick is to take the water off the heat just before it boils or to add a tiny bit of cold water to the leaves first.

Guilty literary pleasure:
I often choose books for their covers.

Best book nobody talks about:
I have a few candidates for this, but lately I’ve been thinking about Where Europe Begins by Yoko Tawada. I first read it years ago, but her lonely narrator, growing scales as fine as insect wings, haunts me still.

Last time you lied:
Someone asked me how my day was going.

The lie:
I smiled and said, Oh, you know.

Question you secretly want to be asked:
Do you want to teach a writing workshop in Vienna and then Kyoto?

The answer:
Yes! Yes! Yes!



Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is the author of Harmless Like You. Her short writing has appeared in, among other places, the Guardian, Granta, Guernica, and The Rumpus.
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