Category: stories

  • “Place de Stalingrad”: The story behind the story

    In both Paris and Brussels, there are metro stops called “Stalingrad,” a fact I found fascinating, especially since the city of Stalingrad was renamed Volgograd in the wave of de-Stalinization under Nikita Krushchev. On my last visit to Paris, I decided I had to see what was at the stop with this name so one evening […]

  • “The Norton Anthology of Self-Destructive Behavior”: The story behind the story

    This story was one that unfolded itself gradually over time. It started with the title which came to me one day during a residency  for my MFA. I wrote down the title and even got so far as writing down a list of self-destructive behaviors, but put it aside for a while after that. I picked […]

  • “Persistence of Memory”: The Story Behind the Story

    “Persistence of Memory” has its origins in a visit to the Salvador Dalí Museum in St Petersburg, Florida. During a tour of the exhibits, there was a painting from the same series as Dalí’s “The Persistence of Memory” and the guide said that this was about Dalí attempting to portray time flattening to a single […]

  • “Saint Jude’s Medallion”: The Story Behind the Story

    The earliest version of “Saint Jude’s Medallion” came from an assignment for a class I took as an undergrad, Latinos and the Politics of Religion. We were supposed to interview an older Latino/a (the term Latinx had not yet been invented or at least had not achieved currency in the Pomona Valley of the late 80s) […]

  • “Kiddush”: The Story Behind the Story

    “Kiddush” is the opening chapter of my novel in progress, We, the Rescued. The novel, in an Oulipo-esque fashion, takes its structure from the Passover Haggadah and in a sort of an ontogeny-recapitulates-philogeny fashion, the chapter takes its structure from the first prayer of the Passover Seder, the Kiddush, or blessing over wine. I took the […]

  • “A Pilgrimage”: The Story Behind the Story

    “A Pilgrimage” is one of those stories that originated by reading off the page. In this instance it was a Mexican short story that I was reading in Spanish. I don’t remember the story details very well, other than being somewhat lost in the Spanish. As a consequence I began imagining the story that became “A […]

  • “MeTube”: The Story Behind the Story

    The genesis of “MeTube” was an actual YouTube video, “Bride Has Massive Hair Wig Out” which initially presented itself as an actual pre-wedding video but was later revealed to be a promotional video for hair care products. Regardless of its veracity, the question that struck me about the video was, What happened after the camera turned […]

  • “Q & A”: The Story Behind the Story

    The genesis of “Q & A” was a passing mention in Dava Sobel’s book Galileo’s Daughter, where, when she was discussing the trial of Galileo by the Inquisition, she mentions the surreal effect of the transcript in which all the questions are written in the third person but the answers given are in the first person. […]

  • “An Outsider”: The Story Behind the Story

    This is another story which has been kicking around for a while before it finally was published, Back in the ‘90s, I submitted this to Story, received a hand-written rejection letter and didn’t realize that was a sign I was onto something and didn’t do anything more with the piece for years. This story has […]

  • “Bartholomew L. Bartholomew”: The Story Behind the Story

    “I once held the position of Technical Lead…” this part of the story is autobiography. The rest, modulo the occasional detail that I borrowed from my years’ experience in tech, is fiction. The obvious inspiration is Melville (the short title I used for filenames and the like for the story was “Bart LB” and I […]