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“How do you approach doing research for stories inspired by your hometown...when you haven’t lived there in decades?”

UPSTATE is Research Notes Redux.

· Necessary Fiction,UPSTATE,The New York Stories,Tortoise Books,Binghamton NY
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With the release of UPSTATE, the good people of Necessary Fiction were kind enough to re-post the "Research Notes" essay I wrote when The New York Stories was released. Excerpt? Word.


"The research for a collection like this takes place in my head, and it’s all about memory, what I remember, and what I trust to be true, and finding which stories fit together, even if no one else sees them fitting together quite like I do.

"It’s also about wondering about how things work, or might have worked. Why certain decisions get made, why someone punched someone in the face or broke-up with someone when they did? When people choose to communicate, and when they just pause, stumbling over their words and actions, more focused on trying not to fuck-up what’s happening right before them, then on taking a chance to see what might happen if they just took a chance.


"This research is about possibility, and looking to the future even as I look back, or a kind of future anyway, a parallel one, where people both real and make believe, grow-up, move on, get lost, and sometimes get found again.

"I’m worried now that I sound like I’m marketing something to you, a monorail, or some cool new designer drug. Like I have a product that I want you to understand so that you will buy it, and love it.

"I am of course doing that, but in doing so, I guess what I’m really worried about, is that I’m not doing what you need, or want, me to do, peeling back layers, and digging into the story, or in this case, the story about the story.

"But I’m trying not to do that either."