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 a long front porch upon which we spend a lot of our downtime. On this porch is a wicker porch swing. One afternoon during this summer’s heat wave while relaxing on the porch, my wife and I noticed the swing swaying lightly. This led to the recollection from more than twenty years ago, when our daughter (who begins graduate school this fall) was only two, was being pushed by me on a swing hanging on another front porch. I might have had (this is where my memory and my wife’s diverge slightly) had a beer or two that day. Despite warnings from my wife not to let our daughter fall off the swing, she did exactly that. Fortunately, our daughter merely was shocked but unharmed, unlike the child in this story.

From time to time I think about how lucky I was that my daughter did not get seriously injured that day and this story reflects my two decades of self-loathing about the incident. Today, my wife and daughter enjoy retelling the story of that day with a modicum of amusement. I, however, always cringe.

Ray Morrison

About Ray Morrison

Ray Morrison spent most of his childhood in Brooklyn, NY and Washington, DC but headed south after college to earn his degree in veterinary medicine and he hasn’t looked north since. He has happily settled in Winston-Salem, NC with his wife and three children where, when he is not writing short stories, he ministers to the needs of dogs, cats and rodents. His debut collection of short stories, “In a World of Small Truths” (Press 53), was released in November, 2012. His fiction has appeared in Ecotone, Beloit Fiction Journal, StorySouth, FictionSoutheast, Carve Magazine, Night Train, Word Riot, and others. He can be reached at rmorrison4@triad.rr.com.



  • Kris Willcox

    Something like this happened to my dad almost 40 years ago when he was pushing my younger sister on the swings at the park– a complete accident, a tiny child who was startled by not badly hurt luckily– and he still feels just awful about it. Perhaps fiction is the only way to partially excise the memory.

  • Ray Morrison

    It’s amazing how so many quick events in our lives stick tight and can be drawn upon for use in fiction, Kris. Sounds like your dad and I were very lucky, indeed.