We recently published Xenia Taiga’s intense “And The Clouds Never Stopped Coming.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) This story opens with a relatively brutal scene, the mother melting the daughter’s dolls. What led to this moment?
The story was born from two threads. One was a conversation I had with friends, both married and unmarried, about controlling sexual desires. If one was cultivating self-control, how does one go about finding entertainment that doesn’t involve a. too much drama (cause already got enough of stress, thank you very much!), b. too much violence (squeamish), and c. that doesn’t have any romantic tendencies. My immediate thought was of those Disney cartoon movies! Disney movies are great! Cute and entertaining. Then, wait a minute, I realized most of them revolved around the love relationship theme. The second was a discussion I had with a friend, whose girl I occasionally helped babysat. We both were disappointed that her three year old and a half kept choosing movies that were on love and weddings. The mother tried her best to steer her daughter onto other topics. Such as look at this cool place! Wouldn’t it be awesome to travel the world with friends? The girl always returned to the same subject. To comfort the mother I said it was a phrase and that she’d outgrow it, but so far she hasn’t. As for the mother in the story, she was out back smoking a cigarette. She snapped. She got tired of hearing her daughter singing. She got tired of the dancing princess. She got frustrated with society.
2) The difference between the narrator’s moment with her mother and her moment with her grandchildren — I love the contrast here. She has grown such a beautiful soul and she shares that with the children. Did you ever think she might have turned out differently? That this story would have a different ending?
I never did entertain that thought. Most of the time as people grow older and experience life’s struggle, they’re reminded of the struggles their parents went through or the difficulties their friends faced; as a result they develop empathy and a tenderness as well when they realize that life is short and must be celebrated each day. Of course, this doesn’t always happen and those kind of people are usually miserable and have few friends. But the mother in the story is different. She learned. She is still learning and wants to continue learning. As a result she’s sharing what she learned with the children.