For the Spring 2014 issue, our theme was madness, and one of our contributors showcased that very well in his story. Jared Yates Sexton’s “Monsieur and Mademoiselle” takes us through the thought process of a man the morning after he and his wife throw a party — a raucous affair for sure. I won’t give it away, but suffice it to say that this short piece is full of secrets — and it’s fun to read besides.
Let’s meet Jared.
What made you decide to become a writer?
It’s weird – all I’ve ever wanted to be was a writer. When I was five and heading off to kindergarten the first day I wanted to learn, right off, how to read and write so I could get my stories down. Before that I was playing with action figures and G.I. Joe’s and drawings in my notebooks and making up stories. It’s literally the only thing I ever wanted to throw my weight into.
If you had to describe your writing style in one word, what would that word be?
Man alive, that’s a tough question. On my best day I’d be temped to say “Honest.”
What does your writing space look like right this second?
I’m on Summer Break from teaching so it looks cluttered. I’ve got this old mammoth desk that I found in thirty or so pieces on the side of the road a few years ago that I salvaged and put back together and refinished, so there’s a ton of room on the top for manuscripts and books and legal pads. Usually I’m a piler, specifically I make two piles on either side and the piles contain either things I need to get done or things needing revised.
Outside of literature and books, where do you find inspiration?
Movies. Family. Music, a lot of the time. I’ve always been a curious person and I never get tired of getting the answers I’m looking for.
Which piece of your own writing is your favorite and why?
Another tough question. If pressed I’d have to say my first novel, a manuscript called “The Hoosier.” It’s in a drawer and every now and then I send it out to possible presses and agents, but I’m just so damned proud that I got the thing finished, that it does even half of what I set out to do in the first place.
You mentioned being a displaced Hoosier living in Georgia – what do you miss most about the Midwest?
Hoosiers. Pure and simple. I miss the easy conversations and the pace of the day. Under that same umbrella, I miss my family. My big, dysfunctional, crazy family.
What is your favorite quote?
“There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” – Kurt Vonnegut
Where can readers go to discover more of your work?
I’ve got a website over at jysexton.com where I list my other stories and I’ve got a collection of work, An End To All Things, available from Atticus Books. Oh, and I operate one of those Twitter things at @jysexton.
Don’t forget to check out his story “Monsieur and Mademoiselle” in our Spring 2014 issue!