See & Be Seen & Be Scene (Five [Quarterly] Press, 2014)
The title of your chapbook is a clever play on words. We were curious about how you came up with it and why you felt it fit with these stories.
I chose See & Be Seen & Be Scene because I felt it reflected some element of both stories in the chapbook. “In the Days since I Fell out of Love with You” and “Deer & Other Myth” both house characters that desperately want to be seen in a specific way by a certain someone, another character, or themselves. Furthermore, the former is composed predominantly of brief scenes connected only by their relevance to the unnamed narrator; the latter focuses on a prepubescent girl who thinks of her life as scene.
How involved were you in picking the cover art? Did you pick it yourself or did your publisher pick it for you?
Five [Quarterly] was excellent about getting my input throughout the publication process. I selected the cover art among three options presented to me and am beyond pleased with the final result.
What were the inspirations for the chapbook’s stories?
“In the Days since I Fell out of Love with You” is a story I wrote as I was falling out of love with my high school sweetheart, an experience wholly new to me at the time. “Deer & Other Myth” is very much rooted in childhood memories from Jonesboro, Georgia. Many of the men in my family hunt deer. They would often bring the deer to my Nana’s house, where I was raised, to skin and butcher. My family is poor and taking game to the cooler is expensive. I remember being very young–as early as four or five years old–and sitting on the top step in my Nana’s basement to watch them skin deer. Those memories are as stark in my mind as they are in Lynn Brainard’s video tapes.
“In the Days since I Fell out of Love with You” seems more episodic than linear in how time passes. Was the story always like this, or did it evolve?
From the very outset, “In the Days since I Fell out of Love with You” was written as a nonlinear, moment-centric piece. At the time, I was studying Virginia Woolf and got really excited by this idea of stream of consciousness narratives highlighting the significance of the moment-as-lived. In the story, I wanted to play with narrative’s ability to re-present time, space, and mental headspace. Like I said, I was falling out of love, too, so I wanted to capture that as well: the way your relationships with folks can come down to memories of moments.
What is the significance of the hedgehog in this story?
That’s a great question! I think the story’s narrator would say he purchased it to have something to love as his own feelings fade. I’d further say it works to humanize him a bit. Though I’m obsessed with writing villains, writing flat villains is boring.
What do you imagine happened to Derek? Did he and Terri just have a falling out or was there more to it than that?
This is a story with secrets. There are suggestions that Derek is more than just friendly with Lynn, Terri’s daughter, so I imagine more than a generic “falling out” passes between he and Terri.
What is the significance of the pink worm?
Lynn is a girl desperately trying to document everything, to hold onto everything (or at least, evidence of everything). There is both an excitement and trepidation in her as she moves into womanhood, a dangerous trek for Lynn indeed. With the pink worm, I hope to offer Lynn some opportunities for, if not rebirth, at least the hope of it.
Kayla Miller hails from the south side of Atlanta and lives in Las Vegas. Her work can be found in the journals Tahoma Literary Review, HOLD: a journal, Gesture, and The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, among others. Currently, she is finishing her MFA at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and revising a novel. She lives with her English bulldog, loves leopard print, and calls herself John Wayne.