C. P. Boyko, "Forty-Third C Platoon"


It's December 2. C. P. Boyko, author of Novelists, never turns down a good pair of wool socks.

How would you describe your story?

C. P. BOYKO: "Forty-Third C Platoon" is an episodic war story that follows the members of one infantry platoon—who are, for some reason, all women.

When did you write it, and how did the writing process compare to that of your other work?

CB: I wrote it two or three years ago. I have no standard procedure for writing a story. It always feels, at least at first, like a hardscrabble struggle: I always feel like I am discovering how to do this again for the first time. I read and daydream and jot down ideas for a while, till I have some mental picture of what I might like the story to be; then, like stepping off a cliff, I begin writing, a little each day. Rereading and rewriting ensue. To paraphrase a joke of James Thurber's, If you keep on long enough, it turns into a story.

What kind of research went into this story?

CB: I read a number of memoirs and novels to spark my imagination. 

What, to you, makes the short story a special form? What can it do that other kinds of writing can't?

CB: There are short stories, which we call short stories, and there are long stories, which for some reason we call novels. I do not know that we can make many generalizations about short versus long stories, beyond the quantitative fact of their different sizes. It is like comparing cupcakes and cakes, when we could, perhaps more interestingly, be comparing angel's food and devil's food.

Where should people go to learn more about you and your work?

CB: My quaint, hand-coded website, cpboyko.com, is one place to start.

What's the best gift you've ever been given?

CB: I have never been so pleased by a gift as when I as a moneyless child was given by my omnipotent parents a video game. Now, as an adult, when I can buy myself things, I mostly don't. Now I like best being given fancy food or fancy booze that I might not treat myself to. 

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Michael Hingston