Questions about the story
Where did the idea come from?
A few years ago I spent two summers selling along the Costa de Luz in southern Spain. It’s not as popular as the Costa Brava or the Costa del Sol, and if you arrived on a calm day you wouldn’t know the reason why. The wind can be ferocious. Levante, from the east, can last for weeks and reach 8 or 9 Beaufort (gale force).
For awhile I was actually stubborn enough to try getting around on a bicycle. I distinctly remember one day: pushing the bike up a hill against the wind, a sudden gust pulls a loose pack of envelopes out of my bike pouch and skywards, a riffling like wings, like a flock of paper birds.
I remember another day, sitting in my tent at the campgrounds after a day’s work and listening to chairs and tables falling over, watching trash and leaves blow by. When it got like this, there wasn’t much you could do except sit and watch and listen. I was then working with my girlfriend (now wife). That kind of wind could spoil our work for days at a time. That was mostly when we fought, or felt doubts about being with each other, or wondered about our future together (international relationships can be difficult — she’s Argentinian). It’s usually somewhere in the midst of these aching moments in a relationship that one becomes conscious of the extent of their love for the other, and just how much one is willing to sacrifice. Anyway, you can see how the story idea came out of all this.
Do you work with a critique or writers group?
Yes, since the ClarionWest workshop. There were 18 of us, and we’re all (more or les) online together these days.
How did the story change as you developed it?
The ending changed. I had the two leaf-bodies dying together in an early draft. It was too sappy, not as interesting.
Questions about writing
Who do you write for? Yourself or someone else?
Myself and everyone else.
How long had you been submitting before you made your first sale?
About a year.
How did you celebrate your first sale?
Pizza. If i remember correctly…
What writing projects are you presently working on?
Lots of short stories. A few false starts on novels. I read in and between a lot of genres, and what I’m working on reflects that.
Favorite short story read this year?
“Snow,” John Crowley
Favorite book read when you were a child?
“The Never Ending Story” , Michael Ende
If you could trade places with anyone, who would it be? And Why?
This question is trickier than it sounds at first. If I traded places with Ghandi, for example, India might not have gained its independence so early, and something altogether wonderful might be happening this minute instead of me writing this at my desk.
I’m not sure I want to fiddle with history like that. Even in fiction, it’s a very tricky thing to fiddle with history. But the reason I mentioned Ghandi is because I’m intrigued by his ability to focus on people’s strengths and talents as opposed to their weaknesses. It’s said he had an extraordinary talent for this. I wonder what it would feel like, to have that kind of compassion.
All-time favourite movie?
That’s a tough question, but my favorite movies this past year were “In the Mood For Love” and “2046”, by Directory Wong Kar Wei. They’re loosely related — see the first one first.
If you had a working time machine what advice would you give a younger self?
Give me another ten years or so to answer that question.