Talkin' Space with Novelist Zach Powers

Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, Lit Hub has published an interview between me and Zach Powers (author of FIRST COSMIC VELOCITY) about why authors are so fascinated with space. I bring up Moab and scary dreams I had as a child, and Zach talks about Mars and Neil Armstrong. We possibly reenact the Cold War. Read our fascinating interview here, titles “A Poet and a Novelist Discuss the Literary Allure of Outer Space: Gale Marie Thompson and Zach Powers Get Spacey.”

To be fascinated by space is to be fascinated by insignificance. But that’s the fun of life (and of writing): making meaning where none ought to exist. When I look up at the moon and remember that Neil Armstrong left footprints there—and I always remember Neil Armstrong when I see the moon—how can I but marvel at the sheer audacity of us as specks? We are the dust that refused to settle. Breeze or not. (ZP)

I think it’s the job of a writer (or poet!) to come up against the ineffable, time and time again. We compulsively work to make meaning out of something that can never completely have meaning, to put words to things that can’t be verbalized. Space is full of things that we know exist, some of which we can see from far away, but we can’t touch them or actually be in their presence. We can see and feel the immensity of space when we look up at night, but infinity lies beyond what little we see. Humans—writers—attach so much meaning to these unknown bodies. They are charged, like talismans, with our emotions, our struggles, our relationships. What exactly that meaning is, we’re often not sure, but with it comes magic. Humans are really good at projecting onto things. I feel like I should quote Jodie Foster’s character in Contact here: “No words…they should have sent a poet!” (GT)

NewsGale Thompsoninterview