Sara Levine, "Slower"


It’s December 2. Sara Levine, author of Treasure Island!!!, won’t cash the damage deposit unless it’s absolutely necessary.

How would you describe your story?

SARA LEVINE: Young white American couple with divergent ideas of The Good Life has a baby; everything goes downhill. I've always been terrible at describing my own stories!  

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

SL: Like all my stories, I wrote this one slowly, and with so many stops and starts, I can't even pinpoint when I wrote it. Sometime between 2005 and 2015?  

What kind of research went into this story?

SL: No proper research at all, unless walking around Chicago with a newborn baby and talking to your neighbors counts. 

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

SL: I love the short story for its compression. I think because it can be read in one sitting, it offers curiously prolonged effects. For example, I read "Bartleby, the Scrivener" in high school and now, thirty years later, still find him in the office corner, saying with deathly calm: "I would prefer not to." I read novels back then, too—attentively—but can't remember a scene from any of them. But I'm always going to have Bartleby with me, placidly eating ginger nuts behind his green screen.  

Where should people go to learn more about you and your work?

SL: Not, ahem, recently updated, but still hanging in.

What's the best gift you've ever been given?

SL: I have been given so many wonderful gifts; how can I choose one? I do have a very soft spot for the ceramic rainbow whistle necklace I received the night before I played Dorothy in the fifth-grade production of The Wizard of Oz. Thanks, Mom.  

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What did you think of today's story? Use the hashtag #ssac2018 on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to check in with your fellow advent calendarians.

Michael Hingston