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All posts by Katie O'Reilly

An Interview with Isaac Fitzgerald on “Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos”

“It was about showcasing a range of stories — from heartbreaking to absolutely hilarious. One of my favorite stories in Pen is of the woman who had ‘Pizza Party’ inked on her toes. I was like, ‘Hey, what’s your story?’ and she was like, ‘I just fucking love pizza.’ So, you’re trying to let the hilarity of something like that come through, too. We wanted there to be a bit of a narrative if you read it from front to end, but something you could also just pick up and flip around.”

On “Ghostland”: An Interview with Colin Dickey

“You’d find certain archetypes that would appear no matter what. For instance, the haunted merchant’s house in New York plays off the mythology of the unmarried woman, the spinster, as does the Winchester House. Things like this would crop up unexpectedly across the country, despite their radically different places and stories and cultures.”

On “The Art of Waiting”: An Interview with Belle Boggs

“Some people take issue with calling infertility a disease, but I think that’s the only way we can advocate for better awareness and insurance coverage, so that people have choices. And my point was not to say that one path is better than another, but to portray the experience of exclusion and isolation, and the obstacles faced by so many people, with empathy.”

On “I’m Supposed to Protect You from All This”: An Interview with Nadja Spiegelman

In college I had a writing teacher who said, “If you’re ever writing about a childhood memory and you think your mother was wearing a blue dress, but you’re not sure if your mother was wearing a blue dress, then don’t write that.” And it’s great advice, but it sent me into this whole tailspin about what it means about myself if I imagined her wearing that. What else would be inaccurate? Did it mean the whole memory was fake? So, I became very interested in family stories as a place where narrative, and the facts, are constantly in contention. It’s a sphere where there is no proof, no objective truth of any matter, and I think that among all people who share large parts of their lives — families, couples who’ve been together for a while — this argument is very common.