“Rebecca,” a short story by Laurie Frankel, was a runner-up in the 2016 Editor’s Reprint Award. It appeared in our Summer ’16 issue and can be read here.
Tell us a little about “Rebecca.”
This story was inspired by an exhibit I saw at SF MoMA (San Francisco Museum of Art). The large-scale, color photos were of men and their RealDolls® taken in banal settings inside their houses/apartments. They were not sexual photos. I found the situation fascinating—the care these men took—and it got me thinking about the outer limits of relationship because I believe these men (there may be woman with RealDolls®, too, I don’t know) believe they are in relationship/relating.
What was the most difficult part of writing “Rebecca?”
I wanted to strike a balance between the knee-jerk creep factor of a man being sexually involved with an inanimate objet and the space society gives to a couple involving two people. I had trouble with the ending. I wanted to get at the idea that we all, at one point or another, feel uncomfortable in our skin and often act in seemingly odd ways to rid ourselves of these negative feelings. As repellant as the situation may be for some I hope the reader sees a bit of him/herself in Ray.
Recommend a book for us which was published within the last decade.
I mostly read classics because there are so many that are good. That said I did like, The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit. Interesting story aside, it’s written in the third-person plural which could easily become tedious but I felt the author pulled it off. It’s use wasn’t just a gimmick. It served the story as the collective experience was important to the mission.
If you could have a drink with any living author, who would it be?
It’s one thing to admire an artist from afar and quite another to hang out with them. But if I was at a party and Amy Hempel and I just happened to bump into each other while scooping artichoke dip then I would be very interested to hear her thoughts on writing, Lish, training puppies to be guide dogs etc. As for the why: because she wrote, “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried”.
What are you working on now? What’s next?
I recently finished a screenplay and have submitted it to contests so please cross everything crossable for me. I’m finishing up a never-ending memoir and always writing short stories. Am looking for an agent so if you’re one, know one, thinking about becoming one, please give me a call.
Our thanks to Laurie for taking the time to answer a few questions and share her work. Read Laurie’s short story, “Rebecca,” here: www.sequestrum.org/fiction-rebecca.
Laurie Frankel is the winner of the 2014 Walker Percy Prize for Short Fiction and a Pinch Journal Literary Prize, Bridport Prize and Glimmer Train Press finalist. Her fiction and creative nonfiction has appeared in Shenandoah, Alaska Quarterly Review, New Orleans Review, North American Review and The Literary Review among others. Contact her at: FrankelyMyDear.com