We recently published Maria Ioannou’s stunning “This could be a story about people.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) I love the idea of a story that’s not about what it’s about. (Or that is about what it isn’t about?) What made you decide to write a story about leaves (and not, say, people)?
Something lifeless can say so much about the living. Raymond Carver was so good at this, by describing an ashtray you could sense the rollercoaster of a whole relationship. Italo Calvino describes a wave in so much detail in Mr Palomar, you start to feel you are that wave. I often animate objects in my short fictions, in one way or another, so leaves, these in-between existences constantly poised between life and death, became part of this creative quest. At the end of the day, I do write about people, about people through things, leaves in this case. And it’s kind of comforting to think that leaves are always around, even when we’re gone, mirroring the circle of life. I really hope leaves never leave us.
2) And as long as we’re talking about leaves! When was the last time you jumped into a pile of them?
I was in a park in Copenhagen, next to the statue of Hans Christian Andersen. It was early morning, I could hear some people walking in the distance but I couldn’t see them. It was my last day in Denmark, a bit windy and the park was full of leaves. Their movement on the ground, in the air, on the statue, was so rhythmical, so vivid. I felt as if I was watching a performance based on improvisation and contradiction. This ten-minute audio-visual experience, this cosmic sensation, inspired me to write this piece. And Philip Glass joined me on the way (the piece was actually written and edited while listening to “Metamorphosis” on repeat).