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Segue 12: Fall 2014  ||  Liv Lansdale


about the author


Liv Lansdale is Book Reviews Editor for poetsatwork.com. Her favorite sentence of the 18th century is from Wollstonecraft, and refers to men as "bugbears." She is actively seeking the perfect mojito.


about the work


My parents were separating when I wrote this story, and I had recently picked up a copy of the delightfully titled lit mag, Armchair/Shotgun. I decided to start a project based on romantic tropes. Prose poetry has a rich history in objects (Ponge, Mallarmé, etc.) so I thought I’d pick some and split them with a slash. A loose narrative started to form so I downplayed the role of lyricism (realizing ruefully I could never be Ponge or Mallarmé) and decided this would be my first shot at flash.

Having only rarely attempted fiction in the past, the easiest part of the project was forgoing poetic concern, writing without thinking about line breaks or meter. But of course, for me, those elements of craft are more manageable than the gargantuan task of developing a person (or however you want to define fiction), so nearly all other aspects of the project felt unwieldy.

I didn’t know my narrator, or how she would talk. I didn’t know how to craft plot—which I maintain is really important, even in “literary” fiction. The object structure worked for me because it allowed me to chart her development around markers unrelated to plot. And no episodes would have emerged unless I’d challenged myself to incorporate the objects I’d chosen.

I wanted to go back to poetry exclusively since finishing Couples Therapy, but more conceits have come to mind. Some fiction writers claim their stories begin with an image, or a vision of a character—nothing like that happens for me, but I’ll sit down at an oddly themed restaurant and wonder, what if there were a story behind each of the wonky items on this menu? My early poetry relied heavily on lists. Hopefully someday my fiction will become less dependent on formulae the poems have.


liv lansdale on the web





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