Lydia at Smokelong

Issue 35 of Smokelong Quarterly is now available online, including my piece of flash fiction, “Lydia Before” and an interview with me about the writing process for that particular short story.

“Lydia Before” asks the question – what would you do if you met yourself at the aquarium? A happier version of you? The kind of you who wears pink hairclips and only tells the truth?

Q: Your story is a terrific illustration of how to use language and structure to serve the theme. Is this conscious for you? What was your process in writing this piece? 

A: The themes only emerge to me at the end of the first draft. A lot of the process is unconscious up to that point. Then I give it a few days, read it back, and the hard work starts. I change/sharpen voice, character, metaphor, pace, and lose whatever’s not working for the piece. 

At the end of the first draft of “Lydia Before,” I had some confused elements regarding how much of Lydia’s past I wanted to reveal. In the end I decided that less was more. When dealing with a theme like buried truth, the most difficult element for me is in deciding what to leave unsaid. Writing “Lydia Before” has taught me something new—there doesn’t have to be a spoken resolution. It’s quite powerful to leave some things unresolved.

Picture taken at Georgia Aquarium, pictured is...
Picture taken at Georgia Aquarium, pictured is one of the two resident male whale sharks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


2 thoughts on “Lydia at Smokelong

  1. Really liked Lydia Before – an intriguing mixture of enigmatic and in-your-face realism. You’re great with little details – like that pink hairclip…

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