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A Conversation With PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2019 Author Sarah Curry
“I slowly connected the dots that nearly all my friends—no matter what continent we had been on—had experienced some level of sexual violence.”
Nimrod International Journal
Nimrod International Journal.
You didn’t know me then.
We were all girls, about the same size, no more than 5’3” and under 115 pounds, but that fall back on campus from study abroad we walked like we were men, nearly 6’1” and 200 pounds with a bum knee. Arms flexed and at our sides. We wanted to look like a stuffed gorilla won at a carnival by slinging little wooden balls as hard as you can at glass milk bottles. We walked as though we had sledgehammers affixed to our shoulders, and our names were Ricky.
You know, Ricky the mechanic. Ricky the prizefighter (or was that Rocky?). Ricky the uncle who belches the alphabet.
It was a joke. Sort of.
We met at a “survivors” group potluck where a bunch of female college students took dainty nervous bites of cupcakes and later cried as they told their stories. Except us. One after the other we left as a circle massage started to form, pretending we had to pee or had an emergency text. We met outside and called bullshit on “survival.” We didn’t even exchange names. We headed to the closest apartment and drank ourselves silly. Or should I say serious?
Working on my senior thesis over breakSki trip with friends!! Barely a signal!
The Bones of Stars
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“When you’re a kid you’re not sure if you don’t know something because you haven’t been taught it or because you’re not supposed to know.”
“I think, in pursuit of truth, science and religion still have to wrestle with the strictures of human knowledge, error, pride.”
“The narration style feels very conversational to me. I liked how second-person really tries to make the reader part of the story as well.”
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“The idea here is the casual way children can accept and parrot this kind of simple, black-and-white math about worth. So much so that in a pinch they are willing write off their own mother!”
“I wanted to address old-age sexuality, which is in general completely unmentioned in Taiwanese society.”
“Inspiration came from the stupid pencil jar our family had when I was growing up.”