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Thursday, January 12, 2012

A few questions with Benjamin Solomon

Benjamin Solomon
Benjamin Solomon’s work has appeared in One Story, Diagram, the Southeast Review, Boneshaker, and elsewhere. He is a founding editor of The Open Face Sandwich, a biennial anthology of uncommon prose. He is completing an MFA at Georgia State University, and is at work on a novel about a libidinous 1940s traveling cattle feed salesman.

Solomon's story, “The Swallow,” placed second in CL's 2012 Fiction Contest. We caught up with him to ask a few questions about his work.

Where did the idea for the story come from?

The idea came from the terror of getting hit by a car while bicycling. Perhaps the only more terrifying scenario to me is someone I love getting hit by a car. This quickly led me to the idea that injury and damage are basically incomprehensible, and that idea helped determine where the story would go.

Did you run into trouble working with "Math" as theme?

Yes. It seemed like a hard theme until I started thinking about all the cool math words I could use. "Absolute Convergence" is my favorite, and though it doesn't appear in this story, it does describe the emotional terrain very well.

What are you working on next?

I'm working on a novel about a traveling calf-meal salesman in the mid-1940s, back when calf-meal was a matter of national security and calf-meal salesmen were the don juans of the agricultural industry.

Catch Solomon and the other fiction contest winners at the Fiction Contest party at Highland Ballroom tonight Thurs., Jan. 12 at 7 pm. More details.

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