My short story “Everything Beneath You” appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies in January 2015.
First line: You don’t know me, but I changed the world.
Inspiration: In the late winter of 2014 I was having a rough time with depression. I wasn’t feeling excited about anything I wrote, and that combined with a break in therapy and the lack of sunlight brought on the worst funk I’ve experienced. Fed up with feeling awful, I decided that I needed to force myself to grab hold of any opportunities that presented themselves. When my sister asked me if I wanted to go with her to a local Lantern Festival, I said yes even though it felt like the last thing I wanted to do.
Each lantern display at the festival had a plaque. Most described Chinese myths. The myth that stood out the most to me was about seven fairy sisters. Having to keep up with my nephews, I took a picture of the plaque to read again later and moved on. I stood on a lantern boat shaped like a dragon. It cost money to board the stationary boat, and my partner only had enough for one of us. As I stood there looking at the water, I told myself I’d turn it into a story, partly as a thank-you to him for letting me have the experience over him and partly because I had to do something, anything, to lift my spirits.
The beauty of the festival–the bright lights, brisk air, and the presence of family–brought me out of my depression just enough to allow me to start the story. I wrote about a woman who felt confined to a body and a world that constricted her. I wrote about a woman with grand ambition; she wants a ship of her own, a body that she can alter as she pleases, love. Once I finished, I felt invigorated. Though the depression hadn’t completely gone, I was inspired to keep working. I pledged to write a novel within the year. I did. And when Beneath Ceaseless Skies took the story, I completed another goal: publication in one of my favorite magazines.
Read it for free: http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/stories/everything-beneath-you/
Art: Whisper by Jennifer Stufflebeam