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Q. You’re Such a Disciplined Writer. Were You Always That Way? A. When I was in graduate school, I worked part-time at a local library. I ran the used bookstore in the basement. The money came in handy. There was plenty of time to study. I learned to know the regulars who talked about living with pain and waiting for bland meals to be delivered. One sweltering afternoon I read about Tibetan body breakers who dismember corpses with their hatchets and flaying knives so the vultures will have an easier time. I imagined my own body and the monks asking, “What did this one do?” And the answer would be, “Not much.” As the hand I could have written with flew away from the wrist.
Ron Koertge is a young adult novelist and the author of numerous poetry collections, including Olympusville (Red Hen Press, 2018), The Ogre's Wife (Red Hen Press, 2013), Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses (Candlewick Press, 2012), and Indigo (Red Hen Press, 2009).