We talk to MC about her stories “The Place Where They Swim” and “An Accident” which appeared in Neon #30.
What inspired your story “The Place Where They Swim”? Do you own a goldfish? Do you think they make good pets?
I wanted to write about loneliness. I wanted to put distance to it and creep up on it. That kind of pain is difficult to explain, I think. People thrive under proximity, we are healthier in all the ways there are to be healthy when we feel closeness. I wanted to write about this feeling using the goldfish as a sort of costume of lightheartedness. They were surrogates for approaching something so sensitive.
I do own a goldfish. I do not think they make very good pets.
There’s a slightly strange quality to the syntax in the story, as if it has been written in the goldfishes’ own semi-human language. Was that the effect you were going for? Where do you think this falls in terms of prose vs. poetry?
I’m not sure if I could classify any of my work as poetry, although I can see how they overlap in terms of syntax. My work relies too much on the qualities of fiction, but I do like to think of them as stories that celebrate the voice. “The Place Where They Swim” was more or less written in one night in one go, the language is a bit silly at some points. But it was done in the spirit of automatic writing, and this intuition directed the prose. Your intuition takes you on some weird routes when you let it. The language adapts to this new speed, and with this my writing bends in a way that imitates the language of poetry.
The main character in “An Accident” believes in an alternate reality where her life took a different course. Do you believe in the theory of alternate realities?
I think it is normal for people to store away all of the possibilities of their actions, to be able to go back into them and redo them like they should have been done. But insofar as actual alternate realities, like lapses in space-time or parallel universes, I’m not sure.
You mention in your biography that you are a painter. Does your painting complement your writing, or are they very separate mediums?
My relationship with painting goes back a lot farther than that with writing, but recently the two have met up and become very tangled. The sensations that I try to paint about are in wordless territory, in that they are from feelings that are difficult to describe well. However, with the things I write about, I can get at these sensations more specifically and directly. They inform my paintings a lot, and conversely my paintings motivate a lot of what I write. They are like sisters.
Do you have any other work available online? Where can readers find out more about you?
MC is originally from a small town in Connecticut, and is living and working in Providence, Rhode Island. She is 21, and a painter.