An Interview with Courtney Hayden

Your story follows a bleak, though poignantly told, relationship with an addict...what inspired this story?
As human beings, we’re constantly trying to relate to and empathize with each other and addiction makes parts of a person unknowable, unrelatable. What interests me is why we keep trying to make a connection even after failing time after time. Often, I think it’s because we’re convinced addiction is a mask and we’re desperately trying to get to the person underneath, the person we feel we know. I think trying to connect counts for so much, even if it is in vain. It is a sign of hope. The willingness to make the same mistake over and over again can be seen as proof of insanity, but in the end I think that it is an act of love. 

Which writer or body of work has shaped your own writing and/or reading?
Writers who explore the effects of technology on interconnectedness and alienation are so interesting to me. I love reading writers who create characters that are striving for human connection in the face of an overwhelming, technologically advanced world—a world clearly set in the future, but one that we can easily imagine being our own. Anything by George Saunders is a must-read for me. Ben Marcus’s short stories are amazing—I thought “Leaving the Sea” was terrific.

Read Courtney's short story "Still Life/Minor Accidents."