Mia Kirsi Stageberg’s earliest fiction was published in the New Directions annuals, 1960s and 1970s. She has been a researcher, art writer, cloth sculptor, radio documentarist, editor, creative writing teacher, oral historian, and singer in a few bands. Her work includes a published novel; stories, prose poems, and articles have appeared online and in journals and anthologies. She lives in Japantown, San Francisco and is working on another novel.
What’s it like for you to republish old work?
It’s scary and exhilarating to revisit my work that’s out of print! Reworking “Nisio and Shula” (1974) I found the original ending abrupt, had to go into it deeper though I couldn’t change its DNA, and it remained mysterious. In the original piece I’d held to a groove where psychic interactions carry the weight. Today I needed to show more of what Nisio and Shula hope for, suffer from, and need. The formatting process helps because you see it up close. Like Anaïs Nin said about typesetting by hand.
Why do you live where you do?
First I lived in Minneapolis, later other cities from East Coast to Southwest—also Haifa, Israel and Toronto. Along the way I loved working in Washington, DC to get the Americans With Disabilities Act passed. That said, I need artist friends, and I’d yearned for crazy-beautiful San Francisco for years. I finally made it early 1990s: ever-seething ocean, hills that defy streetcars, the intense Mission, vibrancy of North Beach, and now I’m glad to live in Japantown. I belong in this city, San Francisco.
This tale alternates between an imagined ancient Scandinavia and a present-day narrator yearning toward her ancestors. Multiple viewpoints matter—even a deer's. "Magnificent, filled with allegory and story and lyricism." —Barbara Rose Brooker, author of The Viagra Diaries
A restless traveler meets a startling healer in the North, and both are deeply changed.
"Mia Kirsi Stageberg’s fiction has an intense sensuality like Proust, only edgier, stranger." —Geoff Rips, author of award-winning novel The Truth