Not too long ago, I defended my MFA thesis, a collection of short stories called Songs on the Water. It passed with distinction, I am proud to say. Elise Blackwell, my director, David Bajo, and other professors served on my committee and gave me some excellent feedback. They also asked some question that I am mulling over as I make one more round of edits before sending it out. These were the challenging part, and the one I don’t think I could have prepared for.
It does not take long for we writers to figure out that we cannot explain some things in our own work. Or, our explanations do not do them justice. It is part of the magic of art, that the things I write down early in the morning, before my coffee has even kicked in, come bubbling out of some deep place in me that I can neither understand nor shed a light on. David asked me about a line that, even after reading the story a few more times, I still don’t get. Really I don’t want to get it. If a mystery like that can slip past my brain and make it onto the page without my interference, it has a right to graze there unmolested.