I’m kicking off a regular series here at The Big Idea called Monday Muse, in which I’ll share what I’m drawing creative inspiration from each week. And what better place to start than with The Folly of Loving Life, the latest from one of my very favorite writers, Monica Drake?
I loved The Stud Book, Drake’s last novel, and so much of what I loved in that book figures heavily here.
The characters who populate these linked stories feel like my friends, family members, and acquaintances here in Portland; the settings and scenes speak to this moment in history, this place in the world, in such a specific and satisfying way; and though these stories never quite go speculative (I would argue that “The Arboretum,” one of my favorite stories in this book, could pass for a ghost story), there’s that delicious sense of a tilted world, the feeling as a reader that you couldn’t possibly predict which direct any given story is going to go in.
The final story, “S.T.D. Demon,” is a tour de force–I feel like it rearranged the wiring of my brain, not unlike a talk the poet Mary Reuffle once gave at the Tin House writers conference.
As far as inspiration goes, as far as I’m concerned, you can’t do better than that.