January Feature: Bryan Washington


By Blythe Nguyen

Bryan Washington is a sophomore at the University of Houston, a student in the Creative Writing Program, and, in his spare time, a baker. He has been writing since elementary school, a time in which he remembers writing stories about going to the moon. Today, Washington enjoys reading Junot Díaz, Grace Paley, and J.D. Salinger, whose book The Last War with the Eskimos was an early influence on him. He admires these writers, he says, for their abilities to go from a formal to an informal voice, something he aims to do in his own work. Besides fiction, he writes his own Opinion column for The Daily Cougar.

In his work, Washington gravitates toward chronological plots, sometimes writing in a reflective tone. For example, in “Sandra,” published in the Fall 2012 chapbook of The Aletheia, the dots are connected by the title character’s son, the narrator. With revealing imagery and diction, Washington captures the son’s complex feelings toward his mother, as well as his anxieties. In the short interview that follows, we discuss his work and his approach to fiction.

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I think writing such as yours can resolve issues and as well as raise complex questions. Do you agree?

I’d meet you halfway on that. It’s fun to toss accusations, but I’m more interested in the ambiguity of our own individual situations–the sort of ambiguity that’s proffered by asking questions. One after another. If I end up making any verdicts, they’d ideally serve more as a foreground for illuminating the questions I’ve asked, the questions I’m asking, the questions that can’t be answered. When I’m lucky, the conclusion depends on the reader. Continue reading