Originally published in Willow Springs 63
From the author
Notes on “Uniforms”
“Uniforms” is an excerpt from Kamby Bolongo Mean River, a novel that was published by Dzanc Books in September, 2009.
Kamby Bolongo Mean River started as a short story. I liked the voice and thought it could be sustained for something longer so I returned to it at some point and wrote another ten or so pages but had to put it away when life interceded. Another year passed and when I had the next chance to work on this now longer story the sentences poured out and it turned into a novel. Everything I’ve happened to write comes from language and in this case I started with the line, “Should the phone ring I will answer it.”
Notes on Reading
Samuel Beckett’s Molloy changed the way I looked at language, sentences, and what a narrative can include and exclude. I’ve said before that reading Hemingway’s “A Clean Well-Lighted Place” made me want to write a story and reading Raymond Carver made me want to be a writer. I haven’t re-read Carver in years. I might take something off the shelf and skim a few pages, that seems to be the extent of my attention span lately. I do the same with Leonard Michaels, Grace Paley, Borges, Wallace Stevens, many others. I hope to start reading and re-reading again in earnest soon. I do read friends’ work and that I always enjoy.
About Robert Lopez
Robert Lopez is the author of two novels, Part of the World and Kamby Bolongo Mean River, and two story collections, Asunder and Good People. Among other places, his fiction has appeared in the American Reader, BOMB, Brooklyn Rail, Hobart, Indiana Review, Literarian, Nerve, New York Tyrant, Vice, and the Norton anthology Sudden Fiction Latino. He lives in Brooklyn and teaches fiction writing at The New School, Pratt Institute, Columbia University, and the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College.