is interviewed by Steven McDermott, editor of Storyglossia, on the writing of her prize-winning story "They Three At Once Were One." Read McDermott's reasons for awarding Tsetsi first place and her thoughts about writing it.
Here's an excerpt from the interview:
Steven McDermott: Why "They Three at Once Were One," where’d this story come from?
Kristen Tsetsi: How not this story?
Someone in the military serving in Iraq or Afghanistan is reported dead every day. (According to a recent story I heard on NPR, the average is three a day.) The stories might sadden people a little, they might think, "Oh, no. Not another one . . . ," but then the following story—this year's fashions and how to make sure you're stylin' in the snow—takes over, and the next thing people are thinking about is whether to buy an orange or purple plaid scarf.
And I'm not being accusatory—I've done it, too. It's just the way desensitization works. And while everyone is thinking about their scarves—and maybe even being angry about the toll war takes—the person whose dead friend or family member or true love was just listed as one of the day's casualties is sitting somewhere shattered (if they even know, yet . . . at that moment, they might be trying to remember whether John was on that convoy, or where in Baghdad he was fighting, and if one of those three might be him). ...
Bravo, Kristen! And Bravo for writing such a beautiful story.
- Originally from Vermont, I now live in North Carolina. My work can be found in recent issues of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, and Pank, among others, and forthcoming from Gargoyle #57 and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. For two years I worked as an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. Currently, I serve as a mentor for Dzanc's Creative Writing Sessions. I'm working on two novels and a short story collection. In May, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.