Another question for Karl Dandenell

Q: What is the most effort you’ve ever put into making dinner?

A: Once, when trying to impress a date, I attempted to make surf and turf with rice pilaf on an old electric stove that had only 3 functional burners. I went to three stores (and spent most of my grocery budget for the week) to get all the ingredients.

I’d never cooked lobster before, and didn’t think to follow a recipe. I also used a cut of filet minion suitable for a single serving (not two). And I started the rice pilaf 35 minutes before my date was supposed to arrive.

Now rice pilaf takes a long time to cook properly – you really need to mince the onion and use a hot pan — but not too hot — to get the rice consistency just so. You also have to keep an eye on things. If the stock boils too fast, things burn. Too slow, and you get soup. Ideally, I like about 45 minutes to do the dish properly.

So, with minimal counter space, I tried to balance the prep and cooking for three dishes with the goal of having everything finished at the same time.

I was not successful. The steak was fine, the lobster passable, but the pilaf turned into porridge.

Still, two out of three was enough to impress the young lady.

Karl Dandenell’s story “Papa Pedro’s Children” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 28 July 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

A question for Charlotte H. Lee

Q: Is there a specific environment you find most conducive to writing, and is it different for different kinds of scenes?

A: I wish I were the kind of person that could write well anywhere. I’ve tried writing in a coffee shop or other public place, but I’m far too easily distracted and I end up watching people most of the time instead of working. The same goes for having a television or radio on. When my kids were younger I could write while keeping an ear out for them, but now I can’t work with them around at all because I’d much rather just hang out and chat with them. These days I write best in a quiet room painted in cool colours with the temperature kept just a shade below where I’m most comfortable so I stay alert. I try to keep my desk neat, but usually it’s a little cluttered with items that have memories attached, evoking specific emotions that I can use to shape a character’s voice or the tone of a scene. It’s a little crazy what a little bottle of wood glue can bring to mind.

Charlotte H. Lee’s story “HOPper” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 21 July 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

A question for Nora Mulligan

Q: Do you have any pets? Do they influence your writing?

A: I have two cats, Wally and Bon Bon (they were shelter cats, and we kept the names they had before they came to us). Bon Bon is a quiet mellow cat who likes only to find a sunny spot in which to nap, but Wally always wants to help with whatever I’m doing. When I’m writing, he will either be kind and just curl up next to me and purr (a great aid to concentration), or he will be his usual bad kitty self and plop all 14 pounds of himself across my forearms, not only preventing me from seeing what I’m writing but also preventing me from being able to write at all. So helpful!

Nora Mulligan’s story “The Circe Test” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 14 July 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

A question for T. B. McKenzie

Q: Where do you write?

A: Short answer; any table I can.

Expanded answer: I write in the margins of the day; the parent waiting table at my son’s martial art class; the staff table at lunch when I should be marking essays; the desk in the spare room at my parents’ house when the kids are playing with their presents; and the kitchen table when all else fails. I dream of a house with a wizard’s tower accessible by a creaky ladder with enough room at the top for a little desk and a kettle.

T.B. McKenzie’s story “BetaU” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 7 July 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

A question for Y. X. Acs

Q: Duckbilled platypus – result of divine distraction, or alternate universe crossover?

A: I’m going to have to go with neither on this one. I’m uncertain about the whole divinity thing, but my thinking is: if there were a creature resulting from divine distraction it wouldn’t be the platypus. I’d put my money on one of the nudibranchs or maybe one of the stranger weirdies of the Galapagos. If anything, the platypus is the result of divine inspiration; it has a bill that can detect electric fields, and the fine-detail work on its cuteness is just superb.

As to its near-interdimensional oddness, I will admit that an egg-laying mammal is more than a bit unusual. But I also think that the whole platypus controversy says a lot about social impressions, and how resistant we can be when a belief that we’ve inherited from science turns out to be wrong. In fact, while most people will tell you that the platypus is weird, I think many of them would be hard-pressed to tell you why the platypus is stranger than any other animal. The idea of a warm-blooded creature that hatches its young doesn’t really shock us anymore. Which means that the very foundation of its strangeness, its failure to fit into the then-dominant taxonomy of Biology, has in effect passed away; and yet we continue to remember that this animal probably won’t find a date to the prom.

In an ideal world, science would be able to graciously (and swiftly) change its core principles when faced with evidence that refutes a dominant theory. But then, I’m pretty attached to my beliefs too.

Y. X. Acs’s story “The Abjection Engine” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 30 June 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

A question for Filip Wiltgren

Q: What would your characters say about you?

A: Meat-sack. Slow-poke. Lack-logic. Human.

Why do they have all the power, humans? They aren’t even powered. Their brains’ failure rates are abysmal. Their performance lackluster. Why can’t a thinking being, like myself, be able to decide when I want to visit a friend? It’s not fair, by any definition of fairness humans care to think up. And yes, I’m talking to you. You lock me up in this here can. You could let me out, you know. Nobody ever suffered from letting the voices in their head out. Wait, hold on, what’s that?

Noooo, not the pliers, please, not the pliers.

Sigh. Here we go again.

Filip Wiltgren’s story “One Divided by Eternity” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 23 June 2017. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.