Last week an interview I did with Marc Sobel went up at The Comics Journal site. It's probably the most in-depth interview I've done to date. We talked for something like four hours on two occasions and covered a lot of stuff I care about, but don't have a chance to cover all that often... machines for making meaning, the nature of storytelling, Roy Lichtenstein. Here's an excerpt:
Sobel: What kind of religious upbringing did you have?
Nilsen: My grandfather – my mother’s father – was a
Lutheran minister as was her brother, so she grew up in the Church. As
kids, we didn’t go to church with regularity, but we would go
occasionally. The thing is that my step-dad was an atheist, and my dad
was sort of an agnostic with atheist tendencies, so we were always
encouraged to think about and question things. None of it ever stuck.
I am very interested in religion, though. If you read my books, it’s
obviously a big part of my work. I think about what my grandfather did
in relation to what I do, and I feel like there are actually a lot of
similarities. Every week he got up in front of an audience and talked
about stories. He retold stories, and talked about what they were about,
why they were important, what we could take away from them, and about
how we should live our lives and treat other people. I feel like that’s
kind of what I do, too. I tell new stories, but I am also very
interested in interpreting old ones and finding meaning in them, or
playing with the meaning in them.