Tara Wray is an associate editor at Land-Grant College Review. She grew up in Manhattan, Kansas (“The Little Apple”), and came to New York City almost exactly two years ago “by way of Joensuu, Finland and Atlanta, Georgia.”
Since then, she has been on the subway approximately 50 times. She’d prefer never to ride it at all.
“What’s your main fear about riding the subway?” I asked, in email.
“Getting trapped and dying,” she said.
That’s one of the things I admire most about Tara Wray: she says what she means, she says it well, and she doesn’t use a single extraneous syllable.
Read a story like “A Sometimes Never Mother” and you’ll have to agree. An excerpt:
Do you have a fold out couch? She asks me this from the grocery store. If not I can just sleep on the floor. Is it a wood floor? No matter, whatever will be fine.
She does not really mean this. Of course she does not really mean this. She will be sleeping in my bed and I will have the couch. And that could be fine if her asking were worded just a little differently.
When I finally moved out I was nineteen and had stayed a year longer than I wanted to. The final straw was her getting a piano. And taking lessons from one of my friends who she ended up fucking on a second hand couch in our basement. That damn song she played. That damn song over and over and over. The same keys, the same screw-ups, the same clunked notes, the same the same the same. The fucking my friend. There was that too.
Beyond Land-Grant, Wray’s work has appeared in Fiction, Sycamore Review, 3rd Bed, Pindeldyboz, and Shattered Wig Review, and is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Hawaii Review, and Snow Monkey. She has a chapbook, Mini Tremble Fits. Anyone interested can write to her and she’ll gladly send one along.
People and things that inspire Tara to write include: Joy Williams; American Splendor (“the graphic novel, not the movie”); Blankets, by Craig Thompson; Lorrie Moore (“if I read her right before bed, she makes we want to write”); good movie trailers; and Jim Croce (“for a while he really made me wanna write rainy stories”).
Ms. Wray will keep you company tomorrow. Among other things, she will tell you her schedule of upcoming readings. You will, I trust, have the good sense to go to one.
Have a good weekend, folks. I’m back on Monday.