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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Yes! Yes! Yes!