It came from Elizabeth Rankin

It came from Elizabeth Rankin

Elizabeth Rankin’s story “Portals and Other Lost Things” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 23 September 2022. Metaphorosis

“Portals and Other Lost Things” started from a writing prompt during “Story a Day May” in 2020, although I can’t remember the original prompt. Like so many people, I was feeling stuck inside and longing to visit other places, hoping they’d still be around after the pandemic. I was also trying out new hobbies, although knitting (as featured in my story) wasn’t one of them.

The first version was as a flash-length revenge story, where my protagonist decides to make her ex disappear through the portals in her scarf. I felt that version was too safe, and my critique group agreed. What I really wanted to do was to explore what would make someone want to take a leap and go through the unknown.

There’s a sense of general expectation that after you hit mid-life, you retire from being interesting. This is particularly true for women in our culture. I just hit that stage in my own life, so I might be a little sensitive about it! I wanted to write something that shows that strange things can happen to anyone, and maybe your later years are your most dynamic.
I rewrote the story as a more thoughtful internal narrative to take the reader from where Sylvie is stuck in the expectations of others to how she shakes loose from them. I also wanted to create a little bit of mystery with the portals so some things remain unknown, like how they work and where they go. My beta readers wanted to know more, and that was the point. There’s still plenty of life left to explore, even if you’re not sure how you’re going to get there.

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