We recently published Linda Niehoff’s striking “Underneath Cathedral Bells.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) The sensory details! These stunning sensory details! Such a perfect balance of the told and untold here, in such a tiny story. Were you ever tempted to let this piece run longer or was it always this beautiful, bite-sized micro?
What a timely question, and thanks for the nice words! This piece started and ended as a micro. It was one of those rare, lucky moments where it seemed to come out whole. And once I had the two parts and the ending, I knew it was complete as is. However, I’ve always been curious about it, and recently I’ve started wondering about those men standing around in the yellow courtyard. So I guess up until this point, I’ve loved it as a micro. But very recently I’ve been jotting down some words on my phone – just fooling around. No idea if it will go anywhere, but exploring is my favorite part of writing.
2) I adore the turn in this story, the contrast between the first section and the second, the (again) told and untold. Do you think these narrators will tell what they have learned? Or will they keep it secret, too, like it was kept from them?
I’ll admit that I’ve had to think and think on this (and probably still will be a year from now) – which makes it the very best kind of question. I almost love the asking of it more than I love any answer I could give. It makes me want to turn it back on the reader and say, “Well? Do we keep it secret or do we tell?” But if it’s up to me alone then I think that this is the very beginning of the telling. I think for now, what they’ve learned will only come out in tiny pieces. But it’s begun.