We recently published Timothy Boudreau’s stark and lovely “Grandma Told Us Her Happiest Day Was When they Bought the Satellite Dish.”

Here, we ask him two questions about his story.

1) I love the relationships shared in these small snapshots here, how much is left for the reader to fill in. Did you ever have a longer version of this with more information, or was it always intentionally these tiny moments?

It was always composed of tiny moments.  I wrote the original version for a Kathy Fish workshop.  I think the assignment’s word count limit was 150 words, and my first draft was probably 250-300, made up of brief sections.  For the assignment I sweated this down to 150.  When I came back to it a month or so later, I resurrected some of the words I’d cut, as well as adding new material.  I’m drawn to shorter forms at least partly because I tend to write in small units, a couple of paragraphs at a time, afterward stitching the pieces together to make a whole.  With a story like this, rather than expand and connect the fragments, I condense them, the goal being to present only the most concentrated and vital sections.  And then as you point out to let the reader fill in the gaps.

2) I can picture that satellite dish taking up half the hillside, such a great metaphor. Do you suppose it is still there?

I do believe it’s still there, though I haven’t been up that way for a while.  But the last time I drove by, it was there on the hill, with grass grown up around it.  The house itself was empty, and has been off and on for years.