Sunday, May 17, 2020

Nancy Wayson Dinan's "Things You Would Know If You Grew Up Around Here"

Nancy Wayson Dinan is a native Texan who currently lives in San Jose, Costa Rica and teaches at Texas Tech University. Her work has appeared in Arts & Letters, Crab Orchard Review, the Cincinnati Review, and others. She earned her MFA from the Ohio State University in 2013 and is a PhD student in fiction at Texas Tech.

Here Dinan dreamcasts an adaptation of her debut novel, Things You Would Know if You Grew Up Around Here:
This is such an interesting exercise, as I didn’t have a clear choice in mind while I was writing, but it is fascinating to think about this now with the book almost out in the world. In the book, devastating storms have hit the Texas hill country, and Boyd has only a short time to rescue her friend Isaac.

Boyd, the protagonist, is empathetic to the point where she needs to be isolated from society at large, and because of this need for isolation, focuses her attention on the natural world. I picture Boyd as slight, very wary, a bit awkward because she is self-conscious. She is also not concerned about her appearance, and she doesn’t want to call attention to herself. I think that the Jennifer Lawrence of Winter’s Bone would make an excellent Boyd, though I do think that Lawrence is physically much prettier than I picture Boyd to be. In much of the book, Boyd is walking across the back country of central Texas, so she is a little dirtier and rougher than she normally would be.

Isaac, Boyd’s on-again off-again boyfriend, is not nearly as self-conscious as Boyd, and he moves through the world with confidence. In the novel, Isaac’s confidence is shaken as he finds himself in a situation where Boyd must rescue him. Is it cheating to cast an actor who is no longer with us? If not, I really imagine Heath Ledger playing this character – Ledger had a similar confidence, and to me, Ledger’s confidence seemed tempered with a certain kindness, which is at the heart of Isaac’s character.
Visit Nancy Wayson Dinan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue