My story ‘The Same’ was recently published in The Quilliad. I was so happy to be included in the publication and also to get the chance to read with some other fabulous writers at their Halloween launch party.
To read the story just head on over to The Quilliad and order a copy of the magazine!
Because I love to know about the origins of a story from the writer’s perspective, I thought I would share some notes about this story with you.
Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers in the story notes below. So if you want to read the story with fresh eyes check it out first at The Quilliad before reading the notes.
About ‘The Same’
At the reading I introduced The Same as an existential horror story inspired by the roving gangs of teenage girls who prowl the streets of my neighbourhood, and I would definitely stand by that description.
A funny thing happened at the reading of this story though, one of the other writers (also a fellow reader that evening) came up to me and told me she found my story to be very sympathetic (given the subject matter), and her words struck me. I had never before considered my attitude towards my characters to be particularly sympathetic but once I thought about it I realized in a way, I am.
The Same is definitely meant as a comment on individuality (or lack thereof) and the trend these girls seem to follow of blending seamlessly into one another. For me individuality has always been important, something to aspire to. I’ve always wanted to stand out and trying to fit in (so much so that you find yourself look and talking the same as everyone else) has always been a mystery to me. So what do I do with mysteries? Write about them. And the more I write about something or someone, the more I step into their shoes (or Uggs in this case). I find myself (often unwittingly) creating sympathetic conditions for them and in the effort to get to know them in my story I find myself feeling as though I’ve gotten to know them in the real world.
I’ve done it before when writing about real world subjects; the woman in my building who talks to her dog, loudly and incessantly; the man asleep under a down comforter on the beach; the blob of orange goo on the sidewalk in Chinatown. Once I write about a thing it becomes a part of me, I build a connection with it and in that connection I find a point of sympathy, or more accurately empathy.
Maybe if people wrote more about the things that confused them or even pissed them off we’d have a more sympathetic, understanding world.