Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ben Greenman's "The Slippage"

Ben Greenman is an editor at The New Yorker and the author of several acclaimed books of fiction, including Superbad, Superworse, and A Circle is a Balloon and Compass Both: Stories About Human Love. His fiction, essays, and journalism have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Paris Review, Zoetrope: All Story, McSweeneys, and Opium, and he has been widely anthologized.

Here Greenman shares some reflections about adapting his new novel, The Slippage, for the big--and small--screen:
When I was writing The Slippage, it occurred to me that it could be a movie. When I imagined that happening, though, it wasn't in a movie theater—it was on TV, long after the movie first existed. I was older and I was watching it with people who I think may have been nieces and nephews, maybe even some of my children, but they were older too. Whatever the case, it was definitely the future. Because of that, I didn't recognize the actors, and I didn't recognize the director's name (one of the nephews walked in front of the screen, anyway), but I did recognize the tone, which is what I like to think of as Modern Aquarium. You know that kind of movie? It has a cool palette. It treats characters as if their freedom is limited because the freedom is in fact limited. It made me recognize that the book I had made was not a book that advanced the notion of human freedom, or at least consequential freedom. Characters make choices, but all roads lead to the same fate. The movie I imagined was a little depressing, but it wasn't bad. The music supervisor picked good music: Mark Mulcahy's "I Have Patience" was in there, and some Leo Kottke, and over the end credits a Mary Margaret O'Hara song ("Year In Song"). It probably says something about my understanding of movies that the thing I thought about most is what songs would be on the soundtrack.
Learn more about the book and author at Ben Greenman's website.

The Page 99 Test: A Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both.

Writers Read: Ben Greenman.

The Page 69 Test: The Slippage.

--Marshal Zeringue