We recently published Todd Clay Stuart’s stunning “Pre-Ghosting.”

Here, we ask him two questions about his story:

1) There is so much powerful imagery here — I especially love how the wife’s “pre-ghosting” echos the dying ash in the backyard. Is there a connection, do you think, between the wife and the tree?

You always ask such stimulating questions! I see a connection between the wife and the tree in the sense that they both lived out their lives in each other’s shadows for years and years. The fate of the wife is left to the reader’s imagination, but the implication is that both the tree and the wife are succumbing or perhaps have already succumbed to some form of disease or illness, which further strengthens their connection. By extension, the narrator sees the tree as a monument to both itself and to his wife, and knows the tree will have to be taken down sooner or later, but the wife will live on in his mind through memories or in ghost form, imaginary or real.

2) I keep coming back to the line about the stars being forgotten during the day, our attention demanded by the “arrogant sun.” It made me think — what else are we not seeing when there is something else drawing our attention? 

Well, those are the things that keep us up at night, right? The countless atrocities in the world. Our eventual demise and such. Our deepest fears and all. The thoughts we block from our minds or else we wouldn’t be able to get out of bed each day. But on the other side of this are the acts of kindness, generosity, and grace that go on everywhere. Those help bring balance and beauty to the world, help us cope and find our center, something akin to our own personal form of gravity, our own private laws of physics.