Kitty Snacks contributors Mary Miller and John Brandon sat down (at their computers) and emailed each other back and forth for about a week discussing different topics from writing to hanging out in their respective towns in Mississippi. John Brandon, the author of Arkansas (McSweeney’s), lives in Oxford, Mississippi (the home of Kitty Snacks magazine) where he is the John Grisham writer in residence, which means he gets a sweet house to live in, a few classes at the University of Mississippi to teach, and time to write. He has a new book coming out on McSweeney’s this summer. Mary Miller is the author of Big World (Hobart) and lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi where she studies under Frederick Barthelme at the University of Southern Mississippi. Both writers were featured in Kitty Snacks #2 and they both have stories forthcoming in Kitty Snacks #3, which is out in a few weeks. — DS
Mary Miller asks John Brandon 7 questions
1. I was particularly interested in your story “Naples. Not Italy.” (which was published in Subtropics) because it’s excellent, but also because I’m currently writing a story in first person plural. I thought this POV was obscure but it seems like I’m finding it all over the place lately, particularly in flashes by contemporary writers. Do you write in this point of view often? What do you think you’re able to achieve using this perspective as opposed to first person singular, or third person?
I went on a first person plural kick. I wrote three stories in it, if that’s a kick. I think there’s something mysterious about that POV because the reader can’t pinpoint the origin of the information they’re receiving. And there’s an authority to it. Somebody may argue with you, but will they argue with you and a bunch of your friends? I read a Tom McGuane story where he uses first person plural to characterize a town’s sensibilities. I think that’s when I became interested in it. Yeah, mystery and authority.