We recently published Amanda McLeod’s stellar “Things We Say in the Dark.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) What I love about this piece is its construction — the “let’s say” lines hints at so much more than the story is telling us. Did you conceive of this story in this form from the beginning, or did you have to play around with it to get the voice just so?
I had read a number of stories leading up to the workshop in which this piece was created that used the same starting phrase at the beginning of each sentence, and that phrase ‘let’s say’ was one that stuck with me. I actually didn’t have to play with this much at all to get it right – what you see here is almost the first draft, with extremely minimal editing.
‘Let’s say’ was a suggested start to the story and it really made me think about all the things we hide with our words – what we say to each other isn’t always what we mean, and that depth is really at the centre of this story.
2) The imagery is so strong (inspired by by “Starry Night,” it would have to be!), but there is also character development in the description. Was it hard to balance those two aspects of this story?
I wanted this to be a sad love story because that’s what the painting said to me when I looked at it, and I just couldn’t see it any other way. Van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’ has a similar effect on me. There’s a desolate beauty in those magnificent skies. With each sentence here, I wanted to peel away a layer from this relationship and the people in it, and give you a little bit more of a glimpse at their lives and their emotional states. This was a classic ‘show, don’t tell’ piece of work — I focused on how the adjectives in the story revealed something about the narrator. I did have to think as I wrote — it came to me a sentence at a time — but finding the balance that way worked very well for me.