Research Notes · 04/08/2016

Daughters of Monsters

Our Research Notes series invites authors to describe their process for a recent book, with “research” defined as broadly as they like. This week, Melissa Goodrich writes about Daughters of Monsters from Jellyfish Highway.


I researched by euphemism.

By incubating eggs.

By getting aimless in the woods.

By feeling with all my muscles when the telephone would ring.

I researched by haunting, being haunted, feeling around the larynx and thorax and learning the names of the places that hurt.

I researched by surviving Midwest winters, by feeling milk freeze in its jug, wincing when the car slid backwards down hills, by building walls of snow and overnight watched trees to turn glass.

I researched by giving back the ring.

By eavesdropping.

By wondering where the lost plane went.

By my weird and lonely Google history (“cow anxiety,” “blood-jet definition,” “virginity for men,” “symbiosis,” “guessing game with a buzzer beeps and beeps,” “creepy smile,” “synonym for creepy smile,” “how do I know he’s not the one”)

By texting, G-chatting, via letter, via un-sent letter.

By the boy who spelled “wrold” wrong.

I researched by killing every houseplant, by walking through the relentless monsoon rain.

I researched by being a daughter, by noticing a pattern of daughters who hated their mothers, for wondering if the only way to break patterns is to stop them.

By disappearing, reappearing, by shape-shifting and continually transforming.

By not knowing how to say “I love you” without sounding cheesy, by not knowing how to say “I don’t love you anymore” without sounding.

I was tricked.

I ran away.

My memory was full of holes.

My memory was transforming, reshaping from liquid to solid, evaporating, drifting like cloud. So I researched.

I collected first sentences.

Found a way of truth-telling.

Didn’t die when my bedroom burned down.


Melissa Goodrich grew up in a dome on a hill in Minnesota, and now lives in the desert with her love and lazy Holland Lop. She received her BA in Creative Writing from Susquehanna University and her MFA in Fiction from the University of Arizona. Her stories have previously appeared in Gigantic Sequins, PANK, Artful Dodge, The Kenyon Review Online, American Short Fiction, and she has a chapbook of lyric poems published by 4th and Verse, If You What. Find Melissa online at her site and on Twitter @good_rib.