Manuel Gonzales Recommends...

“When I get stuck, I jump mediums, which reminds me of the one time I was driving to high school so fast that the police officer, who was going the opposite direction from me, jumped the median and drove over a grassy patch at least twenty yards wide just to pull me over. But that's not what I mean. I will start stories on the computer, become stuck, and then take up a pen and a notebook, or start in a notebook and find myself unable to write fast enough—this is a rarity—to keep up with the dumb thoughts in my head and will have to jump back to the computer. Rarely, I will pull out a manual typewriter and see what damage I can do to the ears of my colleagues in the offices around me. But what I've found most unhinges whatever needs unhinging are wide-open spaces that I can mark up—classroom chalkboards or dry-erase boards. The last story in my collection, 'Escape From the Mall,' I wrote almost entirely on the two large dry-erase boards in the classroom where I taught high school English. Just two weeks ago, I removed the shelves from one of the walls in my university office, then sanded them down, taped up a border, and covered the space with dry-erase paint. Already it is marked and smudged and written over, a palimpsest of every good or bad sentence I'll ever write.”
—Manuel Gonzales, author of The Regional Office Is Under Attack! (Riverhead Books, 2016)