Writer in Residence · 06/12/2010

Ben White Reflects

Q. How did this story come about?

I wrote this story in the summer of 2007. I was working in a microbiology lab, studying for the MCAT, and I’d just finished an atrociously bad 8000-word story—a bunch of things I probably wouldn’t have been doing if I hadn’t met my girlfriend (now my wife) several years prior. We’d been reminiscing on the phone about the unlikely circumstances that resulted in our meeting.

But afterward I got to thinking that life doesn’t only hinge on these obvious pivotal moments; it’s also shaped by these countless tiny ones, many of which slip by without conscious recognition. I wanted to capture the feeling of possibility, the ripple effect of things done and not done. Of potential narrowing to reality.

I can see see why some people believe in fate, knowing that they’ll only ever see the path they’re actually on.

Q. Why is fiction necessary for you?

We all need something in our lives that can both ground us and push us forward at the same time. Also, my wife hates it when I play videogames.

Q. What song would you pair with this story?

Gates of Gnomeria by Andy McKee

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posted by Roxane Gay