“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.