I’d never written a short story before and when the editors at G.P. Putnam requested one for this project, I didn’t have a clue where to begin. No ideas came to me, even if I’d had an idea of how a short story should work.
I tried to read a few short stories and discovered the work of Alice Munro, for which I will be forever grateful. Her work touched me. But otherwise, for months, I read and wondered what to write, because I found short stories, well, short, and largely unsatisfying.
But on the ride from Florida to New York, we passed a town called Eulonia, and I wondered how a town would come by that name. My husband was sleeping in the passenger seat, so no debate was offered up. I decided it had to be named after two sisters, Beulah and Begonia. And with that decision came the familiar feeling of a story waiting to be told. An eager pressure to set my pen to paper and see what I get. That feeling followed me all the way to New York and waited through three days of getting settled in at the house. And then the story simply fell on the paper.
It may not be everyone’s idea of a short story, but it satisfies me. And I like to think Alice Munro would say it isn’t bad.