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.
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.
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.