So, my short story “Forgotten Dreams” was published in Sixfold magazine. Yeah! This is my first publication, and since I’m still such small potatoes, nobody really gives a crap about what I have to say.
Except myself of course!
That’s why I decided to be the goofball that I am and go ahead and interview myself. I had fun creating the interviewer personality. She enunciates so well (although she needs to work on leaving out the ums and uhhs). For some reason, I imagine she went to Wellesley. 😉
Anyway, here is the interview but two things before you read/take a look:
Read the story first because the interview doesn’t make much sense otherwise (plus, there are spoilers. Egads!). You can find “Forgotten Dream” by clicking here.
I also answered the following two questions in the interview, but I babbled on too much and didn’t really say what I wanted to say, so I decided to write out my answers instead.
Here it goes:
RMD (aka, me): Without the refugee crisis, “Forgotten Dreams” would be a different story than the one you wrote. In the story, a middle-aged German woman hosts a young Syrian man who she gradually becomes attracted to. What made you choose to write about these characters?
Rebeccah (aka, myself): This part was actually based on a true story. A friend of a friend who is in her late 40s hosted a Syrian refugee in his early 20s and they fell in love and were together for a couple of years. They lived in the neighborhood, so I would run into them sometimes and, especially when they first got together, I had conflicted feelings about the whole situation. Part of me thought, awesome, they found each other. But the other part of me thought, is this weird? Is it really ok? I mean, if this were a middle-aged man and a beautiful 21-year-old Syrian girl the whole thing would feel creepy and predatory. At best, I’d roll my eyes and think, Oh my god, so typical. Do the same standards also apply to a woman? Is it wrong to become involved with a vulnerable, much younger person in your care even if they are legally an adult? I wasn’t sure. But I didn’t like feeling judgemental about their relationship. Really, it was none of my business. They were in love, and more power to them. But my thoughts and feelings on the matter are what inspired me to write a similar story told from the point of view of a woman who was as conflicted as I was.
RMD: Sexuality and desire are topics that you touch on throughout the story. We find out Petra has been celibate for many years and you mention several friends who are, as you put it, “married and undersexed.” I’d be curious to hear what you have to say about this.
Rebeccah: In general, I’m very interested in secrets and what goes on behind closed doors, which includes sex of course. We talk about sex all the time and traces of it are everywhere in sexual and sexualized images, etc. but so much of what we see and say is still overly simplified, one-sided and cliche. Sex and desire is such an incredibly complex topic. The strength of someone’s libido and what they want and need from sex varies incredibly from person to person and, in my experience, this is true for both genders. I’m in my early 40s and I know several middle-aged couples who have been together for a long time, but haven’t slept together in years. When I first heard this, I was a little shocked because I had always naively assumed that you have sex with your partner forever, or else you break up, but this isn’t the case for everyone. I think this can be fine as long as both people’s needs are still being met, although the sexless couples I know tend to feel a bit guilty, like maybe there’s something “wrong” with them. When I created Petra, I wanted to make a character who had been more in this camp (although she’s single, not married), whose desire is reawakened and explore what that means for her.
Ok, now you can watch me asking myself a few more questions on this lovely video. Enjoy!
(Btw, thanks YouTube for choosing such a gorgeous thumbnail. Believe it or not, this one is the most attractive of the three options they gave me. Yikes! My lips look so weird…Oh yeah, and sorry about the few video merge mishaps!
Ok, I’ll shut up now and just let you watch the video.)
p.s. This story is somewhat atypical of my work in that it’s straight up realism. I’m more of a slightly speculative/fabulist type of gal, for lack of better terms, but when I set a story in Germany, I often leave the magic/weird stuff out. What can I say? Deutschland is a serious place I guess. 😉