Uncanny Mini Interview with Year One Contributor Rose Lemberg!

Rose Lemberg was born in Ukraine, and lived in subarctic Russia and Israel before immigrating to the US. Her prose and poetry have appeared in Strange Horizons, Apex, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Unlikely Story, Interfictions, and other venues. She edits Stone Telling with Shweta Narayan. Rose has also edited two anthologies: Here, We Cross, a collection of queer and genderfluid poetry from Stone Telling (Stone Bird Press, 2012) and The Moment of Change, an anthology of feminist speculative poetry (Aqueduct Press (2012). Rose can be found at roselemberg.net, her Livejournal blog, and on twitter as @roselemberg

Interview by Michi Trota

1- You speak several languages and have a PhD in linguistics. How does being multi-lingual influence influence your work?

Multilingualism is an integral part of my identity, and is reflected in my writing in direct and indirect ways. I think, most importantly, my multilingual and multicultural experiences made me keenly interested in the experiences of other people who live liminally – between languages, cultures, worldviews. I explore these issues in my writing, editing, and activism. I also sometimes write about linguists!
2- Much of your work explores themes of multiculturalism and genderqueerness. Why do you think it’s important to see these issues reflected in science fiction and fantasy? 
When I started writing, I felt – like many diverse writers before me – that I had to prove myself first by writing the standard – narratives, characters, tropes, and defaults; I felt that writing my own lived reality, off-kilter as it is, was something I had to earn first – something reserved to folks who were published and famous. There is a kernel of truth in that, I think still – standard narratives are easier to place –  but I could not sustain it. Tales of immigration and queerness poured out of me, speaking to the alienation and loss and wonder that I felt. I write both poetry and prose, and in 2010, I founded Stone Telling magazine, which I co-edit with Shweta Narayan. I could see first-hand the growth in the field in response to our work. Diverse writing, and diverse publishing, gives people courage to be themselves and to write their own narratives.

3- How do you use your work to challenge readers?

Readers are not a monolith. What’s challenging to one is met with a happy sigh of recognition from another. I write often about ethical dilemmas that arise from culture clashes and marginalizations. I also love writing about the domestic, the small details of people’s lives. If I made some of my readers think about realities not their own, and affirmed other people’s existence, then my work has been done.

4- What is the most uncanny thing that’s ever happened to you?

Ow, hm, wow, my life is magic realist by default, an endless stream of uncanny circumstances, many of them sad or wistful rather than joyful – like that time when I was alone at night in the Kurdish market in Jerusalem and came upon a magic onion stall (each onion held in it a city, a Jerusalem of gold); or that little shop of poultices and ancient harps that only certain people could see – two weeks before I left Jerusalem, I could not find it anymore; or that time I took a walk in Berkeley – the wind blew six plastic shopping bags past me, and then they soared up and bloomed into flowers, gray and translucent –  nobody else was there to see; or simpler things, like a giant bird screeching down to its death just outside my window, planting the seed of my divorce, two years since; or the dream I shared with my lover, on the same night, just before we began to talk. Magic permeates the everyday; it’s ordinary things that are hardest to find.

One Response to “Uncanny Mini Interview with Year One Contributor Rose Lemberg!”

  1. RoseLemberg.net » Uncanny: sale and interview

    […] Uncanny has also just published a mini-interview with me. I talk about languages, genderqueerness, and uncanny things that happened to me. Thank you, Michi Trota, for conducting the interview! […]

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