Leigh Goodnight’s piece New White Shoes appeared in Liminoid Magazine’s first issue, Spring 2015.
1. You currently live in the Phoenix area and as your bio says, “write about odd people and strange situations.” Is any of New White Shoes even loosely based on your own experience, or people you’ve met?
Yes. The story is based on an encounter I had at a bus stop shortly after moving to Phoenix. That was about three years ago. I still take the bus, by the way.
2. Do you share the shoe guy’s stance on Skrillex?
No. Skrillex’s music is not something I would listen to, but I have no animus against it. Maybe if I listened to it I’d develop one. But fortunately I’ve avoided that so far.
3. This piece relies heavily on gesture to illustrate the nuances of the various interactions happening between strangers meeting by chance. Was this something that naturally unfolded as you wrote, or was it a planned aspect of describing these encounters?
Many of the gestures are based on the real-life encounter. However, writing the story, I could see how valuable gestures were in conveying the Norwegian couple’s discomfort and the rather threatening environment surrounding them. So it did become a conscious choice to work in meaningful gestures. One thing I had to leave out of the story was another man down the street lifting his shirt to flash a knife. It distracted from the main story, so I gave the knife to the shoe guy instead.
4. What writer(s), alive today, do you admire?
Ali Smith. Her novel, There but for the, really got under my skin. And of course Toni Morrison, one of the greatest writers ever; super badass for publishing her latest novel this year at age 84. Some day I’d like to craft stories as skillfully as Smith and Morrison do.
5. Do you have any other creative projects in the works at the moment?
Yes. A short comicstrip series to illustrate a recent breakup (featuring a T-rex and a ninja), a comicstrip series about sasquatch and chupacabra, at least seven more short stories, a sci-fi/fantasy novella, a series of novels for kids, and a collection of flash fiction. And some oil paintings. And some more comics.