Yemassee Interview: 7 Questions with Evan Allgood

Evan Allgood‘s “Air Pressure“ appeared in Issue 23.2.

1. Where are you from and where are you now? How does (or doesn’t) place influence your work?

I’m from Alexandria, Virginia and now live in Brooklyn. A lot of my humor pieces and plays are now set in New York, which may work against them. The world is not clamoring for more New York stories.

This story is set in Brooklyn, a city (and a neighborhood, Crown Heights) infamous for gentrification. I realize that may influence the reader’s take on the story, for better or worse.

I’m also an Air Force brat who has moved around a lot, and I find that you can’t be objective about a place until you’ve left it. So, maybe I should wait a couple years before setting any more stories here.

2. What’s your number one rule of writing?

Keep at it.

3. What is strangest about your writing process?

The lack of routine.

4. Describe the lifespan of this piece: how did it start, how was it revised, how drastically did it change? What was the most difficult part of writing it?

When I got home from playing basketball with the kid, I wrote down every detail I could think of because I knew I wanted to turn it into an essay, and I was afraid I’d forget. But I didn’t start actually writing the essay until a year later (in 2015), and it then went through several revisions over a period of several months.

The changes weren’t that drastic; the arc and heart of the story never changed. But I struggled to find a consistent voice and to muzzle my internal monologue.

The hardest part was the beginning—the first page or so. Once I got going, the story came fairly easily. But I wasn’t sure what to say or how to say it before the kid showed up. I had his voice down, but couldn’t get a handle on my own.

5. How does (or doesn’t) this piece fit in with your larger body of work?

I don’t write a lot of personal essays, although I’d like to do more of them. Mostly I write humor pieces, scripts, and criticism/interviews. I like dialogue, which is evident in “Air Pressure.”

6. Got to ask: has your game improved any since writing this piece?

I don’t think I’m quite as hopeless as I seem in the story, but if anything my game has eroded.

7. What’s your procrastination of choice?

My output takes a serious hit during football season.

Evan Allgood is a writer from Virginia whose work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Paste, The Millions, The Billfold, Paper Darts, and others. His plays have been produced at the Metropolitan Playhouse, Littlefield, the Lakeshore Players Theatre, and The Magnetic Theatre. Follow him on Twitter @evoooooooooooo.