Baxter’s Informal Decalogue


For Tin House, Susan Tacent interviews Charles Baxter. The two discuss topics ranging from how to write “funny,” to the process that went into writing Baxter’s most recent collection There’s Something I Want You to Do:

Short stories can take so many shapes and forms. In the new book the stories seem to be suggesting that there’s another world right next to ours, and it’s here, now (to paraphrase Robert Creeley). Dogmatic Christians seem to be disturbed by the stories, but generally the stories have been received pretty well. When I started the book, I didn’t have an overall plan for it, apart from creating an informal decalogue of sorts. You should feel a shape, a form, in the book, but it shouldn’t feel labored. But for me, all the characters came first. I just wrote down what they did and said.

Jake Slovis earned his MFA in Writing from Rutgers University, where he now teaches English Composition. He is a second-generation Argentine American and has spent significant time living and writing in Buenos Aires. He currently resides in Brooklyn. More from this author →