Author Bruce Bromley's short story "Saying It' appears in the Sprint 2011 issue of The Battered Suitcase. Bruce has performed his poetry and music at the John Drew Theatre (East Hampton), the Berklee Performance Center (Boston), Shakespeare and Company (Paris), The Village Voice (Paris), and at the 1986 Edinburgh Theatre Festival, where the Oxford Theatre Troupe performed his play, Sound for Three Voices. His work has appeared in Word Riot Magazine, Fogged Clarity, Pif Magazine, Gargoyle Magazine, Fringe Magazine, the Journal of Speculative Philosophy, and Women and Performance, among other journals. He is senior lecturer in expository writing at NYU, where he won the 2006 Golden Dozen Award for teaching excellence.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Even as a child of five or six, I always wrote—about long walks to the sea, to the river when we lived near New York City, and about my sense of the shape of each day. The words seemed to underscore that shaping experience was possible.
Why do you write?
I write stories, academic-exploratory essays, plays, poems, all for akin reasons: to manifest thinking on the page, thinking about human matters pertinent, I hope, to all of us, since we are each striving to be a part of the world, which will always exceed what we say of it (indeed, that is one of the world’s virtues, I think).
Is being a writer anything like you imagined it would be?
It is both harder and more wonderful than, as a child, I’d ever hoped.
What do you think makes a good story?
A powerful, singing voice or voices, building up a verbal shape worthy of being shared.
What's your favorite genre to read?
I’d have to identify two: the novel and poetry.
Who is your favorite author or poet?
Virginia Woolf, for the novel, and Rainer Maria Rilke for poetry.
What books or stories have most influenced you the most as a writer?
Woolf’s The Waves and, recently, Deborah Eisenberg’s collected stories.
What books or stories have most influenced you as a person?
For this, I’d have to say: the poetry of Rilke’s Duino Elegies.
Where/how do you find the most inspiration?
In music, always: in a world where the shutting down of feeling is so often all around us, music wakes me up, attuning what requires attunement. I play, for example, John Adams’s El Niño; anything by Arvo Pärt; the viol music of Jordi Savall; the songs of Joni Mitchell, on a daily basis, in order to remember what emotion, proportioned, can make.
What does your family think of your writing?
They tell me they are happy that it exists in the world.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I write, usually, three hours a day, always looking out at the old, many-branched tree outside my window.
Do you have any writing quirks or rituals?
Yes: I begin by playing a piece of music which affords me the courage to believe in words and their expressive powers.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The interconnections among different strands of time in lived experience: I find it challenging and exciting to work at this sort of interweaving.
What are your current projects?
Writing more stories; teaching an advanced course at NYU on the essay and some of our culture’s foundational texts, working with students who attempt to rethink the human issues at stake in those texts.
What are you planning for future projects?
I’d like to try to organize my work into book form, though I know that book publication is its own fraught process.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Believe that our commitment to what words can do is worth all that it requires of us.