We recently published Melissa Saggerer’s lovely “Begin with an Ice Cream Cone.”

Here, we ask her two questions about her story:


1) I love how this story opens with such a specific moment and then goes broader, drawing us into the narrator’s life, and then circles back to the beginning. What made you choose to “begin with an ice cream cone”?

A: Thank you! I wanted to start with a small loss, something that was easy to recover from, something from childhood that could feel universal. I thought of King Kone, the soft serve place where I grew up. Although I don’t remember ever dropping my cone, I could picture it as if I had. This little piece was born in a Kathy Fish Fast Flash workshop, and it was originally titled “How To Cope With Loss,” but Myna Chang suggested I title it “Begin With An Ice Cream Cone.” I liked how that reflected the circular nature of the story, and was a little less on-the-nose for pointing out the driving meaning of the piece.


2) Though there is a lot of heartbreak in this story, there is also a lot of hope, of going back, of finding your way. Do you consider this to be a hopeful story?

A: Yes, I do. It’s impossible to avoid sadness and heartache, but they aren’t always isolated. I used to be better at shifting my focus to the positive. I remember taking a very sad friend to my favorite abandoned barn and walking through the dangerously undulating second story, trying to share every strange happiness, trying to fill him up with enough joy to crowd out the pain. It didn’t work, I used to be overly (annoyingly?) optimistic. I think some things get easier, but not everything. Now feels like a strange dark time, so I inspect shards of memories looking for small ways back to feeling good.