Listening to Pheobe Gloeckner

Yesterday evening I had the great opportunity to watch a live radio interview with the amazingly talented and wildly unique, Phoebe Gloeckner. Phoebe is a writer, and illustrator who has produced works such as The Diary of a Teenage Girl and A Childs Life and Other Stories. She was amazingly candid, spirited, and fascinatingly mysterious.

The interview, which took place at Literati Bookstore and was conducted by writing professor Raymond McDaniel, lasted around an hour, in which Phoebe reflected on the making of her previous works, her inspiration, and her current project on the life of the family of a murdered teenager living in Ciudad Juárez. It was one unlike any interview of a novelist, or artist, that I have heard before.

What made this experience truly unique is the fact that when asked about decisions, or processes she goes through, her answers often had an “I don’t know, things just happen” aspect. For any aspiring illustrators or novelists, they probably found this half memorizing and half discouraging. Her advice was unconventional at best. She talks about how she doesn’t make a plan when she starts something, things just happen and eventually work out. For the average person, this would likely go very, very horribly. So, I could not help but leave that bookstore thinking “well, moral of the story is be naturally talented and genius, and things will work out”. Of course, that is not all there is to Pheobe Gloeckner who has gotten extensive education, but in many ways her genius is still a mystery to me…

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