Chase Boisjolie and Amber Gallant met as students in the University of California, San Diego Writing program in 2016. Having been in a fiction workshop that winter, the two writers became quickly and closely acquainted over a shared love of literature and mutual pretentiousness. Although their writing often differs in narrative style (Chase’s penchant for dialogue and Amber’s ornate exposition), the two frequently find inspiration in each other’s work, albeit sometimes provoking an inferiority complex over one’s apparent lack in the other’s forte.
Throughout 2018, two Swedish songwriters (Jens Lekman and Annika Norlin) undertook a project in which, on a monthly basis, they wrote the other a letter in the form of a song. The playlist chronicles a year in the life of the two artists and tells a breathtaking story of loneliness, jubilation, grief and faith. Even the form of this introduction, timing, and structure of the project, are based on their original work. (You can listen to the playlist at http://c-o-r-r-e-s-p-o-n-d-e-n-c-e.com/).
CHASE: I remember coming across the “Correspondence” playlist on Spotify and thinking, Amber is going to love this. We took a road trip through central California to attend a wedding in November 2018 and just could not resist the urge to listen to all of the songs on repeat for 8 hours as we drove from one end of the state to the other. That’s when we got the idea that we could pay homage to their form of a call and response narrative, but using short fiction instead of music.
AMBER: There’s a great interview in which Jens Lekman called his musical style “finding a narrative within fragments”. I found that after listening to the playlist over and over while driving through the Grapevine and Fresno and Bakersfield, and it struck me that his idea of finding “a narrative within fragments” could refer to so many different feelings. The patchwork nature of the Central Valley itself, our entire writing education at UCSD, and the nature of a correspondence itself, which used to take so long before modern methods of communication that you’d lose the thread of the life of the person on the other end only to pick it up months later with delight in their handwritten letters. And, of course, the nature of our friendship- we’ve been there for the other in some of the best, and conversely, most difficult moments in our young adult lives. Those moments are disparate and lovely, ranging from late-night games of Catan to making paella to showing off the latest additions to our crazy-sock collections.
Beginning January 1st and ending in December, we will be uploading one story per month, each of which is to be loosely inspired by the previous. The aim of the project is to create a single cohesive work of self-contained narratives. We hope you enjoy this experiment – after all, these stories are simply fragments that we hope will seed and grow into a harmonious collection.
Vancouver, Canada / December 31, 2018
Encinitas, California / December 31, 2018