The Furnace

One Writer. One Story. Read to completion (with vigor).

Anca Szilagyi on Home and Memory

by CM

As we prepare for The Furnace Says GoodnightKyle Getz is interviewing Furnace contributors about their past performances. Next up is Anca Szilagyi! Please join us at Hollow Earth Radio on Friday, December 2 at 8 pm for a special collaborative performance and party. Without further ado:


Anca performs “More Like Home Than Home” With Kristen Millares Young. August 1, 2012

KG: After your reading, you said that, to research the political context of the story, “I followed my curiosity.” How did that research process compare to your own creative process when developing the characters and the story?

I started writing “More Like Home Than Home” seeking comfort. I’d finished what must have been the fourth draft of my novel Dirty, a very difficult story about a teenage runaway and Argentina’s Dirty War. I started burrowing into this idea of what feels most like home, which became childhood memories, which at the time felt like “just” self-indulgence and play, and it wasn’t until the story was done that I realized that is actually an important part of the creative process. The story draws on family stories and every question about Romania or immigration turned into a google search for historical context. I added the research as footnotes that I intended as just for myself, to be deleted later. But I liked how they were starting to contradict the more comfortable, child-like story, so I kept them in and added to it with narration as well, which created a tension and texture in the story that I felt it needed.


KG: You included another voice, Kristen Young, to read the footnotes of the story. What was it like working with another reader? How was reading for the Furnace different than other readings you’ve done?

Working with Kristen was wonderful because she brings energy to everything she does. We practiced several times, recording ourselves and listening and trying again. And this is a long story to be practicing several times. Only after the fact, listening to the recording and hearing audience reactions, I realized she has a different timbre (Lillian Nickerson called it brassy) that, in contrast with my high-pitched voice, helped bring out, aurally, the two threads of the story. This was the first reading in which I had another reader join me and the first reading in which I was the only person sharing work. The crowd was so warm and I felt really listened to. It was one of the aspects of our series that Corinne and I were excited about: featuring just one story at a time so that the audience can truly listen. Later, I contributed my voice to Brenda Miller’s “We Regret to Inform You” and at an AWP event in Seattle, I read parts of Talia Shalev’s poem “Take Yourself Out”  with her. These were special moments too, physically contributing to someone else’s creation.




The Furnace is Back with Catherine Smyka on October 10

by CM

Facebook cover_Smyka

October 10 7 pm at Hollow Earth Radio

Catherine Smyka (of The Stranger, T/OUR, and Moth Story Slam Champion)

will read her essay “Don’t Mess with Straight Girls”

“I also didn’t know that I had spent the better part of my childhood and early adult life subconsciously seducing women. The girl who lived down the block. The other girl who rode the bus with me. The girl from Biology class. The girl from the newspaper office. The girl with the locker next to mine on the 2nd floor. The girl from softball. The coach from softball. Everyone from softball. The girl from my Homecoming group. My best friend freshman year. My best friend junior year. My best friend senior year. My college roommate. My other college roommate. My best friend’s girlfriend. If anyone had asked, I’d simply answered, ‘What? That girl? She’s just my really good friend. Really good friends hold hands, right?'”

Listen to Lacey Jane Henson’s story Trigger

by CM

Missed Lacey’s gorgeous performance or want to experience it again? Have no fear! You can listen via soundcloud below. While you are there, subscribe to our soundcloud page so you’ll always have our latest events the moment they are uploaded.



Want a book to go with that experience? Buy a copy of Trigger off our Etsy page!


Conversation with Lacey Jane Henson

by CM

This Thursday at 7 pm Lacey Jane Henson will read her story Trigger at Hollow Earth Radio.

We had a little q&a with Lacey to talk about point of view shifts in her story:


The Furnace: Trigger shifts between first and third person in a way so subtle that upon first read I didn’t even notice. Can you say something about this decision to play with point of view?


LJH: It was fun to revisit the story for The Furnace and realize how many of those shifts there were. It made it easy to bring in other readers for the performance, and also to play around with that even more, so the reading will be more balanced between the three of us.

I think part of the reason the shifts are so subtle is because I made them intuitively as I was writing. I had read a few screenplays around that time, and so that format worked its way into the story as both a thematic and structural element. I think it’s true, too, that the everything is still in the narrator’s voice, whether it’s in first or third person, and that adds to the subtlety as well. Using the third person helped illustrate her sense of remove, as well as her attempts to analyze her motivations and actions. She’s really trying to bore into what happened, and look at it from every angle, which includes trying to imagine herself from the outside.

Alphagraphics is a hero

by CM

We are so pleased and grateful that The Furnace books will live on! These hand made limited edition books are available at each Furnace event so you can hold the work being read/performed in your hands. Alphagraphics will provide printing for these books for the next four events.


Alphagraphics, we love you! Y’all should too.



Listen to Kathlene Postma’s story Fetch at the Furnace

by CM

In case you missed it or just want to hear it again, check out Kathlene Postma’s story on soundcloud. Go ahead an subscribe to the page while you are at it. We’ll be updating with other recordings soon. 

See you at the next Furnace on August 1!

MP3 of Three Songs

by CM

Here is a beautiful recording of Rae Diamond and Jessika Kenney’s performance at The Furnace on January 16.

On Sound and Writing with Rae Diamond

by CM

We’re only two days away from Rae Diamond’s reading of Three Songs at Hollow Earth Radio and I got the chance to ask Rae a question about her essay, which is an apocalyptic essay about a musician’s experience of sound.

Furnace: In the essay you discuss this moment where you and the chimera become one being– a kind of complete instrument. Was there a moment like that for you in writing this particular piece– where you and the essay became one or is that phenomenon reserved for sound?

Rae Diamond: Absolutely yes!  The essay & I became one at many points – most especially after long periods of stuck-ness, followed by profound inspiration & flow.  This happened with each of the three sections, all in different ways, & from different sources of breakthrough. Writing is completely different from playing music, although not so terribly different from composing music.  The kind of fusion I experience when playing music is much more intense for me because there is a different kind of immediacy.  Music is an art-form that occurs in time, whereas writing – although it takes time to write & to read – does not occur in that same timespace.  In fact, through writing, you can very easily stretch or shorten time, as well as travel into the future & into the past.  Playing music is not like this.  The musician makes notes, & those notes cannot be erased.  Although they all disappear, they are in the moment indelible.  For me, this applies a kind of pressure I do not feel when I write, compose, draw, or paint.  While I may get swept up in a similar way in any of these creative processes, losing track of time, & entering some kind of altered state, the state I enter when I play music – especially in a recording or performance setting – instills a sense of imperative that the other arts do not for me.  This makes music-playing for me more exciting, terrifying, challenging & exhilarating than other arts.

Sneak Peak of January 16th Furnace

by CM

Rae Diamond will read her essay “Three Songs” with vocalist Jessika Kenney. We know we are in for quite a sound experience, and Rae made us a recording that serves as a little taste.


Wednesday January 16th, 6 pm

2018 E. Union Street– Live! In house event.

Or listen on line:

The Furnace #3

by CM

Get ready for a pretty wild experience with sound and language!


Essayist and musician Rae Diamond with vocalist Jessika Kenney

January 16, 2013

Hollow Earth Radio

2018 A. East Union St.