“A former actress, unable to master that Look-No-Cavities smile, I had trouble finding work and kept secret my greatest pleasure: to spend weekends in bed with a good novel. But the great ones: The Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot, Anna Karenina, Remembrances of Things Past, etc., I read again and again. They taught me everything. My habit of composing a detailed account of a day in the life of each character I played led to my first attempts at stories. Alas, no one lived in them but me.
One day I asked myself whether those wooden characters who ignited my impulse to complain on the page didn’t also deserve lives. To get under the skin of someone who has done us an injury isn’t easy. But only when we see the world through his or her eyes can we hope to create the tension necessary to keep the reader turning pages. But more: to create that character truthfully at will—that is, to find him or her in ourselves—was our very first lesson in acting. Does it not also apply to writing? I still struggle with this question. It’s what made the study and bisection of our own personalities as actors necessary. After all, what other artists are called upon to ransack their most shameful feelings, take pride in (though not necessarily act on) even their worst qualities? Did someone in class have a cruel streak? Honor it, we were told! It would serve our Richard III, Lady Macbeth, Iago…
“‘Write as though you were speaking to an intimate friend,’ advised the great poet Rilke. It is the best advice I know.”
Carol Hebald received her M.F.A from the University of Iowa. She was awarded the William Bradley Otis Fellowship for Distinguished Contributions to American Literature, the Elias Lieberman Poetry Award, the Ralph Weinberg Poetry Award, and the Theodore Goodman Short Story Award. After teaching Creative Writing at the university level for thirteen years, Carol resigned a tenured associate professorship in English at the University of Kansas to write full time. Her poetry and short fiction have since been published in a variety of journals such as Pen International, International Poetry Review, Commonweal, Massachusetts Review, The Humanist, North American Review, Antioch Review, Free Inquiry, Ararat, New Letters, and Confrontation. Carol Hebald has been the recipient of numerous literary awards which include a nomination for the 2014 Pushcart Prize and the Kansas Quarterly Seaton Award. She is the author of the memoir, The Heart Too Long Suppressed (Northeastern University Press, 2001), a novella collection, Three Blind Mice (Unicorn Press, 1989); and more recently, two poetry collections from March Street Press: Spinster by the Sea (2005) and Little Monologs (2004).
Regal House proudly published Carol Hebald’s debut novel, A Warsaw Chronicle, in 2017.