"On a Foggy Night in Paris, a Bullet Shot Randomly into the Air is Bound to Be Intercepted by Human Flesh," a witty and carefully observed tale of a young American bureaucrat in the beautiful but impenetrable City of Light, was published in Northwind (Spring 2013).
Josepha Gutelius writes plays, short stories, and poetry. Her story “Penny” was chosen for the anthology Best New Writing 2013. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and an Eric Hoffer Award finalist.
Other anthologies where her work appears are Berlin: Inside/Out (University of California Press) and A Slant of Light (SUNY: Codhill Press). Her full-length stage-plays Veronica Cory and Miracle Mile are published in stageplays.com and Professional Playscripts. Her website of selected published work is josephagutelius.com.
TCR Story of the Month highlights an outstanding work of fiction published online within the preceding twelve months.
TCR Talks with Josepha Gutelius
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: In high school I wrote poems for the lit magazine, but in college I started out as an art major (and I still do my "Comix," which are somewhat like graphic novels). I took a few courses in the English Department and gravitated toward writing poetry in earnest. In the end, I did my college senior thesis in poetry, which was published as "To the Perfect Love Which Prepares a Table Beyond Us" (Rat & Mole Press). From poetry I started writing plays, then short stories, and so on.
Q:Where did you get the idea for "On a Foggy Night in Paris...?"
A: I wrote a short play called Desperate Alien, set in Paris. That beautiful, but also oddly cheerless city: a perfect setting, it seems to me, for a comedy that is bound to end badly. The situation and characters stuck with me, to the point where I just had to have fun with the backstory (something which a short play couldn't possibly sustain). After several drafts, the story barely resembled the play, but the "hook" is the same: a desperate refugee is looking for a country to live in and a lonely American is looking for a date. But it all started with that sentence, which I use for the title of the story. I yearned to spin a narrative around it, somehow.
Q: Who are some of your favorite classic authors?
A: The ones I read and reread: Rumi, Chekhov, Jane Austen, T.S. Eliot (solely "The Wasteland"), Marguerite Duras, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Samuel Beckett, Giorgio Bassani.
Q: Who are some of your favorite contemporary authors?
A: Again, I'm listing the ones that absolutely astonish me: W. G Sebald, Christa Wolf, Peter Handke, Malmoud Darwish, Adonis, Tomaz Salamun, and so many outstanding U.S. poets too numerous to mention. I'll choose a random few that I've bookmarked, thanks to online magazines: Margot Schilpp, Ange Mlinko, Chris Albani, Keith Waldrop, Marie Howe, Miriam Greenberg.
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