We recently published Caroljean Gavin’s fruitful “Once Tasted.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) I love the imagery in this piece, the way each fruit evokes a memory and a feeling. And the story itself is a new fruit, tasting of different memories, different sensations. Do you think every story has a flavor like that?
I think so, and maybe that’s what we normally call tone or voice. A story is a fruit a writer has created with the flavors of their particular style and decisions. The writer creates the fruit, the writer creates the sensory experience. Not every flavor tastes the same in every mouth though. Cilantro is an easy one. I love it. Other people taste soap.
2) The tending and care here is so powerful, too, and the outcome could be anything, maybe a fruit, maybe nothing, maybe even a story. What inspired this specific imagery for you?
This piece came from Jennifer Wortman’s Advanced Fiction Workshop and began as an exercise in subverting a writing rule or convention. What was the biggest rule I could break? If this story wasn’t a story what was it going to be? What could seem to be the opposite of a story, but not actually be the opposite of a story? I am such a fast reader, and the image of the fruit popped in my head because if you take your time with a fruit, it can be such an intense sensory experience. The thing is that that sensory experience is going to be different for every person. The sight, smell, feel, taste, even sound of it are going to trigger different responses in different people. I have specific memories of the feel of an orange rind, the punch of citrus that rings out when I pull the orange open from itself, the taste of licking a dribble of the juice off my finger, that no one else will have. Whether it’s a fruit or a story, a chair or a ladybug, the more we give ourselves up to the experience, the deeper of an experience we’re going to have.