David Hammond’s story “The Big S” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 2 April 2021.
This story started with me thinking about the current state of drug therapies for depression. Basically, I wished antidepressants worked better.
That wish segued naturally into a series of escalating thought experiments: What if there were a cure for depression? What if that cure didn’t just affect clinical depression, but ordinary sadness, and it were given to everyone? What if, after sadness was eradicated, someone developed a drug for people to feel sad again? Would people take it?
Of course they would.
But I thought there was enough complexity in how it would play out to explore in a story, and I quickly hit on the idea of exploring the relationship between emotion and memory. Cutting off emotions can empty out memories either by making them inaccessible or robbing them of meaning, and losing memories can make emotions incomprehensible. And sometimes confronting the emotional content of memories is a choice. When do we choose to feel, choose to remember, and when do we choose to lock it away in an act of self-preservation? Is denying an emotion ever the right thing to do?
At some point in working on the story, I got a vision of a dog as a drug dealer’s side-kick, and a great deal of my motivation from then on was to write about this dog, to make the dog an important character in the story while keeping her a real dog. So Daisy was born. I made her a Cocker Spaniel because my vision included big ruffly ears.
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