Bryan Lindsey’s short story, Pray For Us, St. Dymphna, appears in the Autumn 2006 issue of Shimmer. Send him e-mail !
Questions About the Story
Where did the idea come from?
There were times when I got calls like the one Jacob gets in the first scene. The story started as a way to express a fantasy about dealing with that.
How did the story change as you developed it?
It started as a light-hearted comic piece called “Telephone Psychic.” As I started outlining, I realized that there could be something more subtle and meaningful there.
How did you learn about St. Dymphna?
It would be very interesting to say that I learned about St. Dymphna during my time in a monastic insane asylum, but I’m afraid the truth is far more prosaic. His Holiness, St. Google, I have to admit, introduced me to Dymphna. I was looking at images of saint’s medals, and hers struck me. It was pure serendipity that she happened to be the patron saint of the insane. Sometimes things just fall into place like that.
You know the advice “Sometimes you have to kill your darlings.” Was there a scene or line that it really hurt to cut, but cutting it made the story stronger?
My wife is a copy editor, so I’ve learned to treat my lines like lab rats – that is – never to grow too attached.
How is this story like your other work?
The primary feature of anything I write seems to be the intrusion of something completely fantastical on the real world and real characters. I think that this story does that.
Questions About Writing
How long had you been submitting before you made your first sale?
I submitted my first piece to a few magazines about two years ago and didn’t get a very good response, so I went into a long period of writer’s hermitude (assuming that’s a word) before submitting this piece – my first sale. It was a dumb thing to do. I shouldn’t have been so easily discouraged.
Do you work with a critique or writers group?
Nothing formal, just family and friends.
What authors, if any, have had the most influence on your work?
I think I learned my philosophy on storytelling from Samuel Taylor Coleridge, though I would have to say that my writing style is more influenced by cinema.
Favorite short story you’ve read recently?
October in the Chair by Neil Gaiman.
Do you believe in ghosts or the supernatural? Why?
If I believed in any of it, I wouldn’t write about it. I think that good storytelling should create an experience that couldn’t otherwise be had.
Fast food: Yea or Nay?
Never. I’m a Whole Foods man.
Name one place in your hometown that you love to go to and would recommend to others to visit.
The Black Forest Café inside Half-Price Books may be the most comfortable, least pretentious place on this green Earth to have a cup of coffee and read a book.
Is there anything that you would “sell your soul” for?
A newer, shinier soul. Then again, maybe not. We’re made out of our mistakes.
Do you have a secret skill that you never get to show off?
It’s a secret.
Quiz: How many writers does it take to change a lightbulb? Please explain your answer.
It only takes one, but then his editors make him redo it again and again until it burns out.