How Carmen Maria Machado Paid the Bills While She Wrote the Book

“I wrote in my email browser so it looked like I was writing an email.”

Illustration: Lorenzo Gritti

Medium: Did you write as a child?

Did anyone ever want more?

Does this mean you went to college to study writing?

Did you take any fiction classes?

Did that itch lead you to an MFA?

How did you pay the rent?

What kind of work did you find there?

Those are good hours for a writer.

Did you keep that job the entire time you were in Oakland and Berkeley?

Did you use any of that company time to write?

Whenever I would get an idea, I would print receipt paper from the register and write on the back. My pockets were stuffed with receipts.

What did your writing practice look like at that point?

Did you want to go to an MFA program?

How did the MFA shape your writing?

Where did that path lead when you graduated?

Did you get a job there?

Did you apply for any teaching gigs?

How did you protect your writing time and creativity while you were doing these jobs?

What was your writing practice like at this time?

What did you use that month for?

How did you balance work and writing for the next few years?

My wife kept me afloat. She was working full-time and said, “It’s okay if you’re not pulling ‘equal weight’ right at this moment.”

What was it like to rely on her?

FX just is developing a series based on ‘Her Body and Other Parties.’ Did you want to be involved in writing it?

Did you have any misconceptions about yourself that you wish you had shed earlier?

Reader. Writer. Paramedic.

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