Marina Endicott, "Being Mary"

It's December 24. Marina Endicott, author of Good to a Fault and Close to Hugh, raises a glass to the understudy.

How would you describe your story?

MARINA ENDICOTT: A Christmas ornament, a glass-shard of memory. 

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

ME: This is the first story I ever finished. It is also the shortest story I've ever written. I wrote it in an afternoon, then fiddled with it for a while, not very long. On the advice of the writer-in-residence at the Saskatoon library, I sent it to Grain Magazine, and they took it, and a cheque came in the mail for $90—I was rich! I assumed that would be the regular process for publication. Reader, I was wrong. 

What kind of research went into this story?

ME: A life of crime—I still feel bad over that eraser. And my mother getting cancer when I was six. The easy research, you know.  

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

ME: A good short story is better than a novel. (Treason!) Unlike novels, the story form is capable of perfection. It is itself in a nutshell, a nut to be consumed whole. A story can be read in one sitting, taken in and understood; a poem can, too, but poems have an almost stingy reserve—tell me more, I sometimes find myself thinking at the end of a poem. Never at the end of a good short story. 

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

ME: (I'd better update it!)

What's on your Christmas list this year?

ME: I got Poppy Barley boots last year, so I'll fall back on world peace, and a recount in the U.S. election. Maybe they are interconnected.

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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