Ten Everywhere: Sarah Rose Etter and Tongue Party

Posted By bl pawelek - 27th January 2012


In ten words (no more, no less), describe Tongue Party.

SRE: A crazy chapbook I wrote published by the fantastic Caketrain.

So, where did you find the cover art embroidered girdle?

SRE: Caketrain found it and sent it to me. My first thought was “What the hell is this?”

But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I became obsessed with that tongue girdle, I couldn’t get the shape and texture of it out of my head for days. I remember pulling my phone out while I was driving so I could keep staring at it. And that’s when I realized exactly how genius Caketrain really is – they found something so new, something I’d never even dreamed existed, and turned it into something I couldn’t stop thinking about.

I love dedications to mothers, fathers, brothers … but Dan Driscoll, the Nantucket photographer?

SRE: Dan Driscoll is not just a Nantucket photographer!

Dan Driscoll is a professor I freaked out on at Rosemont while I was in grad school. He handed out an Amy Bloom story once that pissed me off for some reason and I spent half of a class period screaming at him about it, then stormed out of the classroom. He didn’t fail me after that Amy Bloom meltdown, and went on to become my thesis advisor while I was working on Tongue Party. He’ll deny it and say Tongue Party was all me, but he really understood what I was trying to do with those stories from the beginning and his feedback was incredible. We’re still good friends and I still scream at him often. But he is not a photographer from Nantucket. 

(Koala Tide) – What happened on the fourth day?

SRE: Probably a lot of koalas rotting, their flesh being pecked at by various sea birds.

(Cake) – Have you ever enjoyed cake, by yourself, birthday and a glass of milk?

SRE: I’m not sure I’ve ever just eaten cake solo. I don’t think I have. It’s always been at a birthday party, wedding or funeral. Cake is a pretty social thing, now that I think about it. We all have an excuse to stuff ourselves with sugar and frosting so let’s do that together to celebrate or mourn. Maybe we are marking the passing of time and acknowledging our own mortality with desserts. Maybe there’s a giant cake clock ticking somewhere, a giant, delicious, sad cake clock.

Why the distinction of two separate sections of the book?

SRE: The two sections were just a gut decision, which I know nobody wants to hear. I should say, “Oh, the stories are split like that to show Cassie’s growth as a character.” But that wasn’t my thought process. I just split it into two parts because I wanted the collection to be balanced and never thought of doing it any other way.

What is the best and worst thing about sacrifice?

SRE: I don’t even know how to open up this can of worms. There are so many varieties of sacrifice, it’s hard to even know where to start about what’s best and worst.

(Husband Feeder) – How about a list of things you would never eat?

SRE: Pickles. I hate pickles more than anything on this planet. Anything food involving pickles or pickling or being pickled repulses me. God, pickled beets. Don’t even make me think about pickled beets. I’m dry heaving. I officially hate this interview now.

I see you have a Special Thanks going to The Philadelphia Flyers. True or False: Briere is the man! (He used to be the Sabres captain).

SRE: True. Briere is great, although I almost sobbed when he missed that penalty shot during the Winter Classic. He’s always a lot of fun to watch in the playoffs. So thanks for that, Buffalo!

Take a look through your iTunes – what song best represents this book?

SRE: Probably “Secret Admirer” by Pissed Jeans. I’ve always loved “Secret Admirer” because the lyrics create such an awesome juxtaposition. The concept of being both a nice guy and a stalker is really appealing, unnerving and effective. I think there are similar juxtapositions in the book, odd pairings that hopefully evoke an emotional reaction. Also, I don’t know if any other song I’ve heard opens as strongly as that one – once you hear Matt Korvette start that howl, you can’t really get it out of your head. There’s a terrible desperation in that song and in his voice, but also a softness, a kindness. There’s something terribly romantic to me about that song. 

What is your favorite line in this book and why?

SRE: Ah, I’m not good at questions like this. I don’t sit around too much thinking about good lines I’ve written. It’s sort of like in hockey when they say you shouldn’t stand around admiring your own pass because that’s when someone is going to slam you into the boards.

In ten words (no more, no less), describe your next project?

SRE: In progress. In progress. In progress. In progress. In progress.


Sarah Rose Etter, Tongue Party, Caketrain
bl pawelek, Ten Everywhere