We recently published Beth Hahn’s gorgeous “I Made a Hologram.” Here, we ask her two questions about her story:

1) I love how this plays with the idea of memory — especially that brilliant line about moving the hotel parking lot fight “behind the dumpsters so if you don’t want to watch it, you don’t have to.” Clearly the narrator is manipulating some of these moments, but do you think there are times they are doing it unintentionally as well?

In “I Made a Hologram,” I was playing with the idea that the narrator might be making holograms as much for herself as she is for the “you” character. She wants to remember but needs the excuse of the holograms to begin. In the scene where she moves the fight, she puts it back in, but in a place where no one has to see it—including herself.
She definitely avoids certain spaces, like the space across the river, which of course is a metaphor for the end of life. She senses it but doesn’t come at it head-on. She knows it’s time for some honest reflection—like admitting that she can still hear the barn door clapping—and often starts with her flaw—as in “there are mistakes” or “you did all the driving”—but ends by changing the subject or distracting with a new hologram.
I moved the glass paperweight paragraph around a lot. I wanted the object to feel like the weight of loss on the heart, and at the same time, a celebration of the fragile beauty of memory. This is the only hologram she really makes as a gift, but by the next paragraph—the Paris paragraph—she is able to illustrate love. I was pleased that the expected word at the end might be “disappear” but she makes them “appear,” which feels like acceptance.
“I Made a Hologram” is really so much about the writing process and vulnerability. I’m often thinking, “I’d rather not write this,” when I know a difficult passage is coming. I tend to take those passages out and put them back in. Copy, cut, paste, cut. When that happens, my writer urge is to obscure by honing images until they feel just the way the difficult idea feels. It reminds me of a stage set, or here, a hologram. It’s artifice, and I am left wondering if I’m avoiding the truth or illustrating it. Sometimes, putting the work away and coming back to it later (I remembered. I forgot. Years passed. I remembered) is the only way to know. I wanted this narrator to waver around the truth in the same way.


2) So. What 
does a tree look like in summertime?

An oak tree in July, but so small it can fit in the hand; a tree in summertime is fully alive. It looks like youth. It feels like first love.

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