Welcome to the second post of our podcast series! We are honored to bring you Simon Rogghe reading his piece “Reception” from our first issue. Below you find an interview with him as well. Enjoy!
PC: What’s your usual writing process like?
SR: It often is a voiceless feeling that builds up over a certain stretch of time, sometimes linked to a dream. As long as there are no words yet, it feels very uncomfortable because it lives as a sensation in my body. Then, usually, the first sentence arrives. To me, this is the best moment. It’s as if a blister has been punctured and I can drain the contents onto the page, letting it take the shape it wants to take. This last part is the most difficult, however, because that’s when the head begins to interfere.
PC: What’s the strangest thing that’s ever inspired you to write a story?
SR: A dream I had about Alec Baldwin trying to beat me up and rape me. At first, I incorporated it in a larger story where the dreams were separate from the main character’s waking life. After having received some comments at the workshop about dreams not working for the reader, I realized that the dream was more real than the reality, so I rewrote the story from the sole perspective of the dream.
PC: Any favorite authors?
SR: I study French 19th century poetry and surrealism, so I am very influenced by authors such as Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Breton, Desnos and Eluard, but I began to take an interest in writing after having read Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground and Goethe’s Faust.
PC: What’s your main goal in writing fiction?
SR: Since I still have no answer as to why I write, I take consolation in the fact that there are and that there have been others who do so. I really like what the surrealists said about writing and publishing: that they do it to find friends. This makes it more a matter of kindred spirits, centered on the activity itself.
PC: When do you write best?
SR: Usually in the morning, when I have the whole day ahead of me, without any worldly restrictions. Unfortunately, this rarely happens.
PC: What inspired “Reception”?
SR: The emotional spark was a dream in which I wrapped my mother in white cloth. I also had been meaning to write about some characters in my extended family in Belgium (we often gather at receptions). When I read Herman Hesse’s Hours in the Garden, the language naturally came together.
Simon Rogghe is a poet, fiction writer and translator of French surrealism and contemporary fiction. His work has appeared and is forthcoming in 3:AM Magazine, Gone Lawn, Crack the Spine and other publications. He is currently earning his Ph.D. in French literature at UC Berkeley.