We recently published Hannah Gordon’s gutting “Something Hungry and Bloody-Jawed.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) I remember in school there’d be fights: “meet me by the flagpole,” they’d say, and give their future combatant a shove. Is this fighting against someone or more to prove something?
It’s so funny how memory works. I have a strong memory of hearing that some older guys at my high school would fight each other in the far parking lot. I never went to a fight, so I’m not sure if they actually did fight each other, or if it was more of a myth at my school. That’s what inspired me to write this story. The why is crucial: why are they fighting their friends? Why are they fighting period? I’d imagine the answer is different for each individual involved. In this story, I don’t think any of the friends are mad at one another. I don’t think it’s that simple.
For the narrator of this story, she wants to prove she’s tough enough, and she wants to win the approval of this group that she’s always felt on the periphery of. She’s curious, too. She wants to know what they’re feeling. She wants to experience the adrenaline and absurdity of it.
For the other characters, I imagine rage, sadness, frustration, and heartache play into their motives. It’s tough being a teenager; it really is. I think teens are often laughed at for their emotions or, worse, belittled for it. But they experience life – all its beauty and cruelty – just like everyone else.
2) And of course, these fights would always gather quite a crowd — the narrator is a girl who wants to join in. Are there other girls watching or is it just her and the boys?
There are definitely other girls in attendance. Maybe some of them want to fight, too.