Robert Lopez is the author of three novels, Part of the World, Kamby Bolongo Mean River, All Back Full, and two story collections, Asunderand Good People. He teaches at The New School, Pratt Institute, and Columbia University, and the Solstice Low-Residency MFA Program at Pine Manor College. He was a fellow in fiction for the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2010 and writer-in-residence at Syracuse University for fall, 2018. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. www.robertlopez.net
His story, "Roy-Boy," appeared in Issue Eighty-Four of The Collagist.
Here, he speaks with interviewer Dana Diehl about how form influences content, works in progress, and the inspiration for "Roy-Boy."
Where did "Roy-Boy" begin? What inspired this story?
A hundred years ago I worked in a restaurant as a waiter and there was a guy who worked in the kitchen named Roy. I can't say that Roy inspired the story because the rest of it is all fiction or mostly fiction.
I read this story breathlessly. I felt like I was tumbling through it, in the best way. Was this story always written as one, long sentence, or did the form come through revision? How did the process of writing a single-sentence story differ from other work you've done?
Yes, the form came through the initial composition. I've done a few pieces that are one long, uninterrupted sentence. They're fun to do and the word you used; "breathless" is how I hear it, too.
The Rupture published "Roy-Boy" in July 2016. Have you changed as a writer since then? If yes, how so?
I remain unchanged, I think. Or I'm always changing in ways I do not care to scrutinize or divulge.
If your writing was a place, where would it be?
The world and elsewhere.
What is something you've read and loved recently?
I'm currently reading Jeff Tweedy's memoir and am enjoying it very much. For something I can get behind all the way, probably Joy Williams.
What are three words that describe one of your WIPs?
Slow, Slower, Slowest.