Friday, December 11, 2009

in print.

I currently have a short story in Slush Pile literary magazine: here.

My husband calls it my "sci-fi story," although for people who truly love science fiction, it will probably be a disappointment. I was hesitant to put it out into the world because it's different than other things I'm writing or have written. The story deals with the hypothetical disappearance of birds in the nearish future.

The truth is, I read far more short stories than newspaper articles, for better or worse, and I learn things (or don't) in each. For me, the one begets the other. The process of writing often prompts me to begin researching, to learn new things about the world, and to look closer, sometimes, than I otherwise would.

While I was writing, I came across this digital illustration by Fooka Designs, entitled "No Place to Call Home":

The print hangs above my desk.

But the original inspiration for my story came from this article by Jonathan Franzen: Letter from the Yangtze Delta, “The Way of the Puffin” in the April 21, 2008 edition of The New Yorker. In the essay, Franzen goes to China to inspect a factory that makes toys but notes, along the way, how few birds he is able to spot. Somehow that sparked something in me, an "Imagine if" sort of scenario. I was mostly amusing myself at the time, but when I got to be more serious about it, I had a hard time tempering an imaginative vision of the future world with what might actually be possible. At times I felt I was under-doing it, and at other times, going overboard.

But just this last week, my husband sent me this link to photos of pollution in China, and they are as terrible and sad as you might imagine they would be - for the environment, and for the people. My story is not really about industrialism or environmentalism, and it's not meant to be political or advance any sort of agenda. That said, I want to include these other links because they're examples of real reportage of things really happening.


  1. You're AMAZING! I've only ready the first few lines and I'm already hooked!! Can't wait to curl up with a hot cocoa and really enjoy this good read while it's so freezing and rainy outstide!