We recently published Jenny Fried’s beautiful “My Little Cinder.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) There is so much color in this piece, a veritable rainbow. Is “color” something you incorporate into a lot of your writing, or was it specific to this story?
The color red specifically has been important to a lot of my writing. I’m sort of obsessed with cardinals and red feathers, and I have found both birds and colors really useful for writing about gender and trans identity. I don’t usually think of color as its own specific device, but I try to treat it as a kind of micro-object that can appear again and again and sort of develop its own meaning within a piece. Red in particular is also a common object in lots of the stories that we grow up with – the red apple in Snow White, the drop of blood in Sleeping Beauty, Dorothy’s ruby slippers – and there’s something about it that feels important to keep when I am using those stories for inspiration.
2) Fairy tales and folklore are such a great source of inspiration. Other than Cinderella, what is one of your favorites?
I love fairy tales and folk tales! It’s hard to choose just one, but my favorite Brothers Grimm fairy tale is probably Bearskin. There’s this wonderfully strange image at the center of the story of a man transformed into a bear from years without shaving that I just can’t really get over, no matter how many times I read it, and there’s a twist at the end that also always gets me. Its kind of a strange fairy tale in that it isn’t resolved very neatly, it just leaves you with wide eyes and a shiver. I also love pretty much every story in Italo Calvino’s collection of Italian folktales.