I wasn’t trying to characterize Harris. I was trying to write about suicide. I was trying to write about what it was like to survive someone else’s suicide. And so I wrote about everyone I ever knew who committed suicide. Strange things happened. When you’re suddenly focusing acutely on a particular subject, all of these coincidences and strange iterations of that subject seem to be attracted to you. I got this letter from a man in Canada who said that his friend drove his car onto a train track in Nevada with the intent of killing himself — and yeah, he did die. A train collided with his car. This friend of his wrote to me because he had left instructions for everything that should be sung or read at his funeral, and one of the things he wanted read at his funeral was a poem by me. So his friend asked me, is there anything that I should say about this poem when I read it, and it was just like I seemed to be attracting all these new, strange relationships…not strange, but all of a sudden suicide was just fucking everywhere. It’s of course just a function of my sudden increased, acute engagement with it.
ES: Was it emotionally difficult to work on it? What was the writing process like?