Laura Trunkey, "Circumstances of Hatred"

It's December 21. Laura Trunkey, author of Double Dutch, keeps a keen eye on expiry dates.

How would you describe your story?

LAURA TRUNKEY: It explores the impact of cryogenically frozen (or more specifically defrosted and alive) Nazis on an already unstable marriage.

When did you write it, and how did the writing process compare to your other work?

LT: I wrote this story in 2006, for my first summer workshop of the UBC Optional Residency MFA Program. Essentially, it was my introduction to my classmates. Like all my stories, I wrote a messy draft and revised endlessly. The general plot is the same, but the characters have had personality adjustments and only a handful of original sentences remain.

What kind of research went into this story?

LT: I drew solely from personal experience. Well… not really. But my husband and I did move from the west coast to Halifax. And I did complain about the wind funnel at Spring Garden and Barrington. We Victorians can’t handle that kind of cold.

In contrast to most of my fiction, I did very little research for this story.

What, to you, makes the short story a special form? What can it do that other kinds of writing (novels, poems) can't?

LT: In a short story each word has to serve a purpose—and I appreciate the attention that the best short stories pay to language. What’s better than a really phenomenal sentence?

Admittedly, as a reader, I also appreciate the practicality of the form. I read once my son is in bed, and with a good novel I can always convince myself to read “just one more chapter.” Whereas, at the end of a good short story, a pause feels required—some time to let it sink in (and to finally go to sleep).

Where can people go to learn more about you and your writing?


What's on your Christmas list this year?

LT: Snow, maybe? Not a lot, but a little skiff. Can Santa Claus take care of that?

* * * * *

What did you think of today's story? Use the hashtag #ssac2016 on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to check in with your fellow advent calendarians.

Michael Hingston