July 18, 2011

A chat with Sally Weigel

Authors Jason Fisk, Mark R. Brand, Sally Weigel and Ben Tanzer

It's release day for CCLaP's newest paper "Hypermodern Edition," in this case Sally Weigel's youth/war novella Too Young to Fall Asleep, which has actually been out in electronic form since 2009 but just today is now finally available in a paper edition as well. I thought I would mark the occasion by doing a little text chat with Sally, where we also had the chance to get caught up on everything she's been doing in the two years since the book originally came out. The transcript is found below (or just "click through" if you're reading this on the website's front page).

CCLaP: Hi, everyone; I'm talking on July 18th via text chat with Sally Weigel, joining us from...somewhere in Chicago, I think? Hi, Sally!

Sally Weigel: Yeah, coming from Wrigleyville. Hello there!

CCLaP: So it's been two years now since we've talked to you last here at the site. How has everything been going? Let's start with how school has been at DePaul University, which you were just entering when "Too Young to Fall Asleep" first came out.

SW: Yeah, school has been going well. I am about to start my last year at DePaul, which honestly seems crazy to me because starting college, releasing "Asleep" doesn't seem all that long ago. I have a good long year ahead though, where I will be focusing on my major mostly. So lots of English classes, lots of Spanish classes as well if I can pull off a Spanish minor.

CCLaP: Yeah, you just got back from some time in Spain this summer, right, as part of your schooling?

SW: Correct. I spent about four months in Spain where I was studying abroad. I was studying Spanish and just you know, traveling, soaking in all of Europe. I spent another month in Italy and then returned home about three weeks ago.

CCLaP: How romantic! Did you stumble into any torrid affairs on trains like an Ethan Hawke movie?

SW: Ha, I don't believe so. I am actually not too well versed in my Ethan Hawke movies, unfortunately. But I mostly did my travelling by bus! And there weren't many torrid tales on the bus. Just lots of time for me to stare out the window and read.

CCLaP: And how has your writing been going recently? I'm happy to announce, for example, that CCLaP will be putting out a new book by you next winter.

SW: Yes, which I am quite excited about. It works out perfectly because since the release of "Asleep" I have been writing on my own, mostly short stories. While some I have tried and managed to get published, a lot of the others have been sitting half-finished or 80% finished. So this summer is the perfect time to sit down, tie all of the loose ends up and really push through all of the revisions so I can hopefully come out with a collection that shows all of the ways my writing has changed since my last big publication. Which I do believe it has. It's exciting as a young writer, still learning the craft, to constantly feel this urge to show my skills and how I have changed. I don't necessarily feel like the same writer as when I wrote "Asleep".

CCLaP: I was just about to ask what it's like for you now to look back on the book, almost three years since you wrote the first draft. For those who don't know, you were still in high school when first working on this.

SW: Yeah, it's pretty strange. Because not only do I look back on a piece of writing but I look back the whole experience. And there was a definite draw from my own life that I took to develop the plot in the novella. So when I reread it, there are times when it's like revisiting that period in my life, during the summer going into college, which I believe to be one where I grew up quite a bit from. It's also strange because this was my first publication and so I look back on the novella with all of the feedback that I received and I look at it as a critic at times. I am happy with the novella in many, many ways but in other ways, I know specific things that I want to straw away from in future pieces.

CCLaP: And you got your copies of the paper edition last week, so what do you think? Are all your friends oohing and aahing over them?

SW: Yes! It's fun to have a tangible copy of my writing. In this day, when much publishing goes on online, it's definitely a mile mark for myself when I have a physical copy of something I published. I remember one of the first days I was back in Chicago. I was on the North Ave. bus and hopped off a little early with my friend to go into Quimby's and see if the copies were in the store. I saw Mark Brand's copy and got a little giddy knowing that mine might be there as well. I have been obsessed with Quimby's since I was 15 so it would be a fun experience to see my own book sold in the store.

CCLaP: Well, then I'm happy to say that they'll be for sale at Quimby's starting Wednesday! I'll make sure to shoot a photo of it in the stacks for you.

SW: Ah how nice! I can't wait.

CCLaP: Unfortunately this is going to be kind of a quiet release, since the book itself has been out for almost two years now; but we'll definitely be making a big deal out of it at CCLaP's big giant quadruple book release party, coming August 10th at Beauty Bar. Have you decided yet what section from the book you'll be reading for everyone that night?

SW: I haven't quite decided yet. I will probably go with the scene when Catherine is running from the cops in the suburbs and in her head, she is coming to realize the "ridiculousness" of her situation, which is definitely the turning point for when she decides to enlist. I might change my mind but as of now, that little excerpt seems both entertaining and it serves as an important realization for the main character.

CCLaP: And before we go, I just have to ask about the end of your European adventure this summer, when you ended up at a hippie organic farm in rustic rural Italy or something like that?

SW: Yup, that sounds about right. Although the guy that I worked for, who owned the farm, is not a hippie, as he says. He's a communist! His words, not mine.

CCLaP: You were living the fantasy of ten million middle-aged suburban American housewives.

SW: Ha, yes it was quite the dream. I fed hogs in the morning and picked zucchini and on the weekends, I was the food runner in the restaurant. That was really the best part of it all. The farm was actually an organic restaurant as well so I got to make myself cappuccinos every morning and I could raid the restaurant's leftovers for all of my meals. The farm really might have been my favorite part of my time abroad. There are many, many stories from that whole experience.

CCLaP: Well, thanks again for finding the time to talk with us, Sally, and I look forward to seeing you on August 10th.

SW: Yes! Thank you. I can't wait for the big release party. I will see you then.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 3:58 PM, July 18, 2011. Filed under: Arts news | CCLaP Publishing | CCLaP news | Chicago news | Events | Literature | Profiles |