We recently published Georgia Bellas’s charming “The Dollhouse Detective.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) I love the atmosphere in this story! In such a small space, you pull us right into this world! Did you ever have the impulse to add more details than what we’re given here, or did the story always just settle in right at this amount?
This piece arose out of an exercise in Kate Finegan’s generative workshop Turn Up the Quiet (which I totally recommend!). The title is a nod to Frances Glessner Lee, who is known as the “mother of forensic science” for her Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. Her macabre dioramas were meticulously constructed and are still used to train crime scene investigators. I wanted to create a scene that was tiny, mysterious, and yet complete. I did start with more details but the actual writing was about only choosing what felt essential. How little could be there and still tell the story? How can the absence of everything that is left out or left unsaid be an active presence?
2) This is a ghost story — is it a ghost story?? — without any ghosts. Everything has happened before we arrive and we are left to draw our own conclusions from the stunning detail we are given. This is such a brilliant way to tell this story! Do you think what you imagine happened here is the same thing that readers will imagine?
Yes, a ghost story with no ghosts! I love that. Perhaps everything is a ghost story. But to answer your question, I suspect not. Given the same scene, the same details, people will come up with different interpretations. I’d like to know what you and other readers imagine happened. I enjoy work that’s mysterious, open-ended, and unexplained, where imagination takes root and the potential feels limitless.