Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Courtney Maum is the author of the acclaimed novel I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, the new novel Touch, and the chapbook Notes from Mexico. Her short fiction, book reviews, and essays on the writing life have been widely published in outlets such as The New York Times, O Magazine, Tin House, Electric Literature, and Buzzfeed, and she has co-written films that have debuted at Sundance and won awards at Cannes. At various points in her life, she has been a trend forecaster, a fashion publicist, and a party promoter for Corona Extra.

Maum applied the Page 69 Test to Touch and reported the following:
It’s serendipitous that page 69 falls on one of my favorite scenes in Touch. The famous trend forecaster Sloane Jacobsen is in her mother’s house in Stamford, CT on a very early morning—she lives in Paris and is somewhat estranged from her family. It’s her first time seeing her mom in several years. This scene really exemplifies the quest for connection versus the temptation to avoid connection that runs throughout the book. On this page, we see Sloane actively desiring a more intimate exchange with her mother. She has things she wants to confess to her—among other failings in her personal life, her relationship with her life partner isn’t going well—but she can’t find the courage to have this conversation. She chooses not to have the home-cooked breakfast her mom is so desperately keen on. Chooses not to be vulnerable. She chooses avoidance.

In this novel, Sloane is tasked with predicting the next big things in tech for a giant company named Mammoth, and because she deals with technology, she’s always thinking and talking about connections, but because we’re talking about digital technology, the paradox is that the result of all this technology is actually more disconnection in people’s personal lives. It’s something Sloane is seeing more and more in the work she does, and it’s a failing that she’s seeing in her own life, too. Her own partner would rather have sex with her virtually than physically, and she’s become incapable of honest conversation with her family. She doesn’t have any real friends. In fact, in the book, her closest companion is her driverless car, an entity who doesn’t actually exist.

In my own life, I try to have the courage to have the tough conversations and the confrontations. I don’t like sweeping things under rugs. It gets very dirty, very fast there. Mostly, I want to avoid the terrific sense of guilt and disappointment that I imagine Sloane is feeling at the end of this scene, knowing she had the opportunity to improve things with her mother, and she chose the other road. I’ve been there before. And for me, disappointment is harder to live with then the momentary awkwardness of a tricky conversation.
Visit Courtney Maum's website.

The Page 69 Test: I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You.

Writers Read: Courtney Maum.

--Marshal Zeringue