Tommy Dean interviews Kathy Fish about her stories in New Micro (W.W. Norton & Co, 2018)
TD: How important is metaphor when writing something so short? Is it the key to pushing the reader to imagine past the white space of the story?
Metaphor is important when it arises organically from the piece. I don’t think intentionally writing to a metaphor works, generally. If you create a micro that’s dense and rich and deeply imagined, you invite the reader to experience its inherent metaphor and maybe that’s different from reader to reader.
TD: How important is the placement of information? Especially in relation to this line from your story “The Possibility of Bears”: “After the ceremony he’d found some emails…”? Other writers might have placed this toward the beginning, but here it’s dovetailed with the ending, the metaphor of the bear. Did this line come out naturally here? Did you consider putting it earlier in the story?
Well, to my point above, I didn’t sit down and decide to write a piece in which a (possible) bear symbolizes the imminent demise of a new marriage. But, yes, it’s undeniably there!
KF: I see what you’re saying about that line. It’d be just the sort of reader-grabbing first (or early) line we’re instructed to write. But then everything that came after it would have already been explained to the reader. To me this would have effectively cut the story’s engine.