Guernica Magazine

Kristen Arnett: It Starts With An Image

The writer on depicting experienced sex scenes, finding humor in the absurd, and the exciting possibilities of the gross. The post Kristen Arnett: It Starts With An Image appeared first on Guernica.

After considering a scenic walk in Leu Gardens, but conceding to the Florida heat—a sultry eighty degrees by 10:00 a.m.—I asked Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things to meet at East End Market, a mixed-use foodie venue more reminiscent of a hipster Smorgasburg than an everyman’s EPCOT. Iced lattes are five bucks, the scent of yeasty artisanal bread pads the air, and a robust chef rubs down an impressive hunk of meat. As we look for a seat, Arnett runs into Emily, the market’s manager, and her best friend from elementary school. The spot is all Brooklyn cool, but here, Arnett has unimpeachable local cred. In the first line of Arnett’s bio, she states she’s a queer fiction writer—this authenticity and ownership of place shines through in her debut novel. For her, “Florida Man” is no running joke; he’s the next-door neighbor she understands in all his complexity.

Next February, Arnett will participate in Winter with the Writers. The beloved, month-long literary extravaganza hosted by Rollins College is a Central Florida highlight featuring celebrated authors and National Book Award finalists. The college is also Arnett’s alma mater (where she was a librarian I currently teach creative writing). As a student, Arnett

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