Category: The Story Behind the Story

The Story Behind the Story: Why I’ll Never Buy Another Peacock
I was buying milk. There were eighteen registers and only two were open. One was run by a human. The other was a self-checkout. The line...
The Story Behind the Story: Why I’ll Never Buy Another Peacock
The Story Behind the Story: “Swing”
This story was the quick result of a confluence of weather and memory. Our house, like any house my wife and I will ever own, is fronted by...
The Story Behind the Story: “Swing”
The Story Behind the Story: “We Can Go Faster”
This piece was originally a prose poem for a mixed genre class I took last spring. It was one long paragraph, windy and chaotic, with more...
The Story Behind the Story: “We Can Go Faster”
The Story Behind the Story: “Together”
Ever since reading Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel Virgin Suicides in 1993, I’ve been fascinated by the first-person plural voice and how it...
The Story Behind the Story: “Together”
The Story Behind the Story: “In The Shape Of A Small Bird”
“In The Shape Of A Small Bird” began with a fabulous tropical picture, taken by photographer Laurie Klein, of a small falling down...
The Story Behind the Story: “In The Shape Of A Small Bird”
The Story Behind the Story: “Visceral”
At the time when I wrote “Visceral” I had been spending a lot of time reading books about Buddhism, Hinduism, yoga, and meditation, as...
The Story Behind the Story: “Visceral”
The Story Behind the Story: “(there’s no telling what . . . )”
The wish to study physics with Boltzmann in Vienna brought me to Germany. You can imagine my upset when I learned that Boltzmann was long...
The Story Behind the Story: “(there’s no telling what . . . )”
The Story Behind the Story: “What We Take, What We Leave Behind”
I was estranged from my father for more than 25 years. As a child, we didn’t have a name for his rage, followed by tears, and the...
The Story Behind the Story: “What We Take, What We Leave Behind”
The Story Behind the Story: “Mom’s Goodbye”
About twenty-five years ago at a family gathering my cousin’s new husband mentioned in passing that he had walked into his dying...
The Story Behind the Story: “Basement Love Story”
This story fictionalizes actual people and situations. I worked on it for about a year and a half (off and on, off and on!) in tandem with...
The Story Behind the Story: “Basement Love Story”
The Story Behind the Story: “Move Fast and Break Things”
This short fiction takes its title from a slogan originating in Silicon Valley’s start-up culture, a creative principle that embraces the...
The Story Behind the Story: “Move Fast and Break Things”
The Story Behind the Story: “Picasso Painting”
Although I have struggled with weight issues myself, I have never been a binger. However, I think labels like “overweight” and...
The Story Behind the Story: “Picasso Painting”
The Story Behind the Story: “Lucky Strikes”
I don’t have any kind of filter that protects me from whatever emotional state other people are in, and am easily empathetic when...
The Story Behind the Story: “Lucky Strikes”
“The Story Behind the Story: “What We Were When We Drew What We Drew”
Gabe, the faceless character in my story, has actually lived in my brain for about forty years now. He’s mostly quiet, but I have to...
“The Story Behind the Story: “What We Were When We Drew What We Drew”
The Story Behind the Story: “In the Dark”
“In the Dark” came out of pure nostalgia for me. I remember in middle school this theater where we went on weekend nights in my...
The Story Behind the Story: “In the Dark”
The Story Behind the Story: “The Kidnapper’s Journal”
This flash fiction was initially written as a poem in 2003 after Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, and...
The Story Behind the Story: “The Kidnapper’s Journal”
The Story Behind the Story: “Together”
Ever since reading Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel Virgin Suicides in 1993, I’ve been fascinated by the first-person plural voice and how it...
The Story Behind the Story: “Together”
The Story Behind the Story: “Wind”
A year ago, I wrote a one-page story based on an incident in my childhood. Then I wrote two more. These stories, I decided, were the...
The Story Behind the Story: “Wind”
The Story Behind the Story: “School Bags”
In the Netherlands, where I was born and raised, your school years are divided in two: you start around age four, for eight years in one...
The Story Behind the Story: “School Bags”
The Story Behind the Story: “Thunder”
“Thunder” was written in the thick of my graduate studies. It was one of those rare gifts in writing—a story that skips conception...
The Story Behind the Story: “Thunder”
The Story Behind the Story: “Okay But Will You Anyway”
First and foremost, this is literally how I proposed to my wife. Not as it happens in the story, of course, but by writing her the story...
The Story Behind the Story: “Okay But Will You Anyway”
The Story Behind the Story: “Therapy Dance”
I am fascinated by the index of psychiatric disorders commonly known as the DSM-IV, which is amazingly large and descriptive. In fact, with...
The Story Behind the Story: “Therapy Dance”
The Story Behind the Story: “From Adam”
Six years ago, I moved back to the town I grew up in because my husband was offered a job in radio. While initially the transition was...
The Story Behind the Story: “From Adam”
The Story Behind the Story: “Mrs. White in the Ballroom with the Lead Pipe”
I woke up at 2:00 AM one night with the title of this story in my head. I’m usually terrible at titles. I got out of bed, spent the...
The Story Behind the Story: “Mrs. White in the Ballroom with the Lead Pipe”
The Story Behind the Story: “He Had Vigor”
In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Ben Shields talks about what motivated him to write “He Had Vigor.” I wrote...
The Story Behind the Story: “He Had Vigor”
The Story Behind the Story: “Mother-In-Law Collection”
The story was inspired by my Romanian grandfather’s stamp collection– four albums of stamps which chronicle Romania’s...
The Story Behind the Story: “Mother-In-Law Collection”
The Story Behind the Story: “When She Comes”
Coming 'Round the Mountain" is a derivation of an African-American "spiritual" song known as "When the Chariot...
The Story Behind the Story: “When She Comes”
The Story Behind the Story: “Thieving Magpie”
In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Laura Valeri talks about what motivated her to write “The Thieving Magpie.” Ever...
The Story Behind the Story: “Thieving Magpie”
The Story Behind the Story: “A Late Appointment”
I worked as a social worker for 42 years; 27 of those as a psychotherapist. “A Late Appointment” is a true story. The client is...
The Story Behind the Story: “A Late Appointment”
The Story Behind the Story: “Grow Grow Grow”
Once, in a reverie, I listened to the PJ Harvey song “Grow Grow Grow.” I sowed a seed Underneath the oak tree I trod it in With my...
The Story Behind the Story: “Grow Grow Grow”
The Story Behind the Story: “Wolf or Deer”
This past summer, I returned to my childhood summer camp to teach creative writing after having been away from the place for more...
The Story Behind the Story: “Wolf or Deer”
The Story Behind the Story: “Ravening Beasts”
I went to college in the South so I read a lot of Faulkner, both on my own, and also in class since I was an English major. I think I read...
The Story Behind the Story: “Ravening Beasts”
The Story Behind the Story: “Infamy”
In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Grant Faulkner talks about what motivated him to write “Infamy.” I created the...
The Story Behind the Story: “Infamy”
The Story Behind the Story: “The Trespasser”
This story started with a vague but familiar feeling. I sometimes have the sense that I’m trespassing in the world, and I wanted to...
The Story Behind the Story: “The Trespasser”
The Story Behind the Story: “Snowbirds”
Homesickness prompted the writing of “Snowbirds” as I was living in Australia when I wrote this and I missed the cold, quiet...
The Story Behind the Story: “Snowbirds”
The Story Behind the Story: “Down at the Doll Plant”
"Down at the Doll Plant" was influenced by my time spent working in various factory settings and Larry Brown's novel "A...
The Story Behind the Story: “Down at the Doll Plant”
The Story Behind the Story: “Net”
In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Jessica Kinnison talks about what motivated her to write “Net.” I write about a...
The Story Behind the Story: “Net”
The Story Behind the Story: “Stacks”
In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Erica Plouffe Lazure talks about what motivated her to write "Stacks." I...
The Story Behind the Story: “Stacks”
The Story Behind the Story: “Re: Guilt”
In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Eric Laster talks about what motivated him to write “Re: Guilt.” I wrote “Re:...
The Story Behind the Story: “Re: Guilt”
The Story Behind the Story: “These People”
In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Christopher Lowe talks about what motivated him to write “These People.”...
The Story Behind the Story: “These People”
The Story Behind the Story: “Shotgun Fog”
In this segment of The Story Behind the Story, Heather Miller Price talks about what motivated her to write “Shotgun Fog.” The...
The Story Behind the Story: “Shotgun Fog”