We recently published Beth Moulton’s beautiful “Blasted.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) I like how this story is told only in pieces, how we readers know what is going on in the white spaces without having to be told. Did you ever consider showing more of the story here, or had you always thought of it as these moments with the car, the tree and the long, long road?
All stories are a marriage of what is said and what is unsaid. Though this story is fictional, the tree is real, and she is close to a road. I hold my breath every spring, waiting for her leaves to appear. I’ve been wanting to honor her with a story, but a longer story didn’t seem quite right. A spare story, just the bones of the thing, seemed most appropriate. I finally decided to have my protagonist mirror the tree, with her physical and emotional blasting, and a loss that seems unsurvivable. There are things we can deduce without them being spoken–the unnamed place, the way in which the tree was injured, the great silent, spaces in a relationship.
2) Speaking of the tree — what a beautiful, powerful moment at the end! Do you think this is a moment of recovery, of peace, for the tree and the narrator? A chance for them to both take a breath before continuing? Or is it something else?
In one way, I like to think of it as a bonding, the way survivors somehow recognize each other in the wild, and then hold on to each other. But in another way, the tree is maternal, and she’s nurturing the woman like a mother would cradle a baby. Giving her a resting spot until she’s able to move on.