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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 The Ogre's Wife (Red Hen Press, 2013); Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses (Candlewick Press, 2012); and Indigo (Red Hen Press, 2009).