Monday, October 25, 2010

The Even More

An interview with Yma Ray Leggett, author of The Even More, a collection of stories, games, linoleum cuts, jokes, and poems. The hand-bound book was recently published by Lettre Sauvage in an edition of 90.


Genevieve Yue: When did you start working with your mom this way, where you would think some thoughts and tell them to her, and she would write them down?

Yma Ray Leggett: Probably when I was about three years old.

GY: Do you remember the first things you had her write down for you?

YRL: Well, "The Dumb Doctor" was one of the first ones.

GY: Can you tell me what "The Dumb Doctor" is about?

YRL: It's about a little girl who doesn't want to go to the doctor. And she's arguing, "I want my chocolate now!" It's a really funny story, and she is screaming and kicking, and she said she's going to use her magic pear to make her party. It's really funny.

GY: Was this story based on experiences you had about going to the doctor?

YRL: Well, I do sort of act like her!

GY: Do you have a magic pear?

YRL: No. No one on earth has a magic pear unless it's electric.

GY: You've been making prints for a while, right?

YRL: Yeah.

GY: And I see we have a very nice linoleum cut that you made and printed.

YRL: This is the first one I did. I haven't done any ever since. I made this when I was seven and I still am seven.

GY: Who is the Stupid Dodo of Tips?

YRL: He's a dodo who has stupid tips.

GY: Who listens to him?

YRL: Well, I made him up. So me and my mom and dad are the only ones who know about him so far.

GY: Is it worth following his advice? Is it good advice?

YRL: No. Especially not for other birds. "Lay your eggs by the dog house." Yeah, it's bad advice for a bird.

GY: Can you tell me about "The Hand Game"?

YRL: Well, you read something... Mom, can you read something to me? We'll show her.

Fiona Spring: I have Frog and Toad. [As Fiona reads aloud, Yma places her hand over words in the book, replacing them with the word "hand."]

"Yes," said Toad. "Hand is my sad hand day. Hand is the time, hand I wait for the mail to come. Hand makes me very unhappy."
"Hand is that?" asked Frog, "because I never get any hand, Toad!"

"Not ever?" asked Frog.

"No hand," said Toad. "No one ever sent me a hand. Every day my mailbox is empty. That is why waiting for the mail is a sad hand for me."

the author at the West Hollywood Book Fair