One of the things about editing (or, as may be the case, co-editing with Edwina Harvey) an anthology such as Use Only As Directed is that you get presented with such a diversity of stories—and I’m not referring here just to diversity of genre, although that’s clearly present, nor to diversity of tone, though that, too, is certainly in evidence. What I’m hinting at is that there are some stories which hit you, full-on, with the sledgehammer-like force of their speculative-fiction credentials, before demanding all your money; and there are other stories which just quietly sneak up and pick your pocket while your attention is elsewhere. M Darusha Wehm‘s contribution to the anthology, ‘Home Sick’, is a sneaky, slippery, all-too-plausible story. I’ll almost be surprised if it doesn’t happen, one way or another.
Here are Darusha’s words on the subject:
What should readers know about you before they sit down to read ‘Home Sick’?
You don’t *need* to know anything – I think stories stand apart from their creators.
However, there are a few interesting things about me. For example, I sailed from Canada to New Zealand over four years and never did run into the North or South Pacific Garbage Patches. Or pirates.
What provoked you (or, if you’d rather, encouraged you) to tell the story you did? What was the germ of the idea that led to it?
I remember when I first learned that rising sea levels would completely obliterate entire communities within my lifetime and being appalled that this wasn’t front page news. I still am.
I’ve also often wondered if it were really possible to take two wrongs to make a right – not in the sense of revenge, but making something good out of something bad.
These two ideas mashed together to become the seed of ‘Home Sick’.
If you were told you were only allowed to keep one sentence from the published story, what sentence would that be, and why?
Only one?! You don’t make this easy.
I’d choose “I looked past the screen out the window, to the potted palm trees rustling in the warm breeze, and the core of pressed plastic peeking out through breaks in the grass and sand.” I like the classic tropical island imagery alongside the technology of the screen and the industrial feel of the pressed plastic. Real life is never like a postcard and I feel like I maybe got close to capturing that here.
The story has a strong focus on I guess what could be called the classic expatriate’s dilemma: that once you’ve left one country for another, you’re never 100% sure where you belong. Was that part of the motivation for you in writing ‘Home Sick’, and where do you stand on that idea?
I tend to think of it the other way around – that some people who feel as if they don’t belong anywhere become travelers. Indeed, I suspect a lot of people deal with a sense of isolation or estrangement by moving, even if it’s just to a new neighbourhood. That’s not been my personal experience (at least, not consciously) but I know people like this, and I definitely channeled my understanding of their experience into Sally’s character.
I also am generally interested in the concept of “home”: what it means to different people, how to build communities that are not necessarily related to place.
What are you currently working on, and what would you like to tell readers of this blog about your current endeavour?
I’ve just finished the final edits for my upcoming novel Children of Arkadia, a political space station story that explores how we could build a different society and the price we’d pay individually and collectively for freedom, justice or security. It’s scheduled for publication in March 2015 from Bundoran Press.
If you’re interested in learning more about Darusha’s writing, you might wish to check out her website at darusha.ca. She’s got plenty of links to her fiction, including her Andersson Dexter cybercrime novels (which are evocative of Asimov’s ‘Naked Sun’ and ‘Caves of Steel’ SF/mystery crossovers, and definitely recommended).
Tomorrow’s interview: Grant Stone, ‘Always Falling Up’.