Sara Larsen: So, my dear friend, my heart was just bursting with your book! I was really struck by the form of The Braid and especially loved that the first line of the book starts in media res: “And then Lindsey and I talk about vulnerability and what it means”… as if we are already there with you and Lindsey.
Can you say more about the title and how it might relate to your process in writing the book? Also, did you conceive of it as a book ahead of time, or did you just begin?
Lauren Levin: The title feels related to the way I think: very associative. And the process of the book was bringing strands of different content (maternal, political) together. Which is a kind of braiding. And also trying to pull things apart. For instance, pulling apart the anxieties of parenting and thinking about them as related to political or collective anxiety. So it felt like an in-and-out motion, a kind of weave.
SL: I feel like the first line interpolates the reader right away into that idea of putting things together and pulling them apart…which is something so many of us already feel is happening all the time in our lives.
LL: Thank you. That’s good to hear. The in medias res..I don’t know that I had a conscious reason for beginning there, except that it propelled me forward. But I was struggling with the artifice of art: that however visceral the writing, one is making something and thus shaping, presenting the experience. That question combined with the feeling of desperation I had at the time. I wanted to imagine I was doing more than I could really do. I wanted to pull people in. Though I’m also skeptical about pulling people in! And about what art can do.
Forthcoming Timeless author Lauren Levin and Bay Area poet Sara Larsen interview each other on their new books: The Braid and Merry Hell. Here's an excerpt: