Smoke & Mirrors: An Interview with Laurinda Lind

by Shelly Weathers Read the Story December 17, 2018

You begin this story with a description of city dwellers worrying about the dangers of an algae bloom. As the story goes on, even though the action is a meandering walk along the tree line above a shoreline, there is a mysterious air of risk, a palpably thin thread connecting spirt and body. What is the most dangerous kind of story to write?

For me, it feels dangerous to start to let a narrative unravel, because then all that subconscious stuff jumps out to say how anything can happen to anybody at any time.

The descriptions in “Itinerary” remind me so much of the tree-shadowed beaches that surround much of the Olympic Peninsula. I have a friend who calls that bracketed pause between shoreline and tree line a liminal space, a sort of fairy ring of consciousness, even though it’s a more or less straight line. What are your liminal zones? What happens up in there? 

If you’re day-dreamy like I am, every place is quicksand. A corner box selling China Daily newspapers just did that to me in New York City this weekend. But, yeah, usually anywhere near water.

I love the specificity of your language, which gives us the names of bacteria, toxins, and veterinary sedatives. I’m imagining you plunging into research. Do you know exactly what you are looking for when you begin researching, or does discovery guide your narrative choices?

When I am wandering into descriptions that don’t feel grounded enough, I start to Google so I can narrow my focus and grab onto something more solid.

As a dog lover, I adore the dogs in this story—they seem to work as narrative pathfinders, moving us forward as they go, pulling attention toward critical elements. It occurs to me my dog basically does that for me in actual life. How do you choose your narrative engines? Is it mostly a matter of instinct, craft, or maybe an actual dog leads the way?

These are instinct dogs, for sure. I feel as if the character is hunting for authenticity, so the dogs help to root it out and root it up. In a sense, they seem a bit like psychopomps, too.

How do you feel about social media accounts that post as dogs (e.g., @BillytheChouChou or @TalulaEatsGrass)?    

I am still bewildered by Twitter and all its stepsiblings, so I have been shielded from these by ignorance. However, if people need this kind of avatar or muse, I’m happy they found a means of expression. Maybe I’d feel differently if I actually saw one of these and it was nasty.

About the Author:

Laurinda Lind lives in New York’s North Country, near Canada. Some acceptances/ publications have been in Comstock Review, Constellations, Artemis, and Paterson Literary Review; also anthologies Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan (New Rivers Press) and AFTERMATH: Expressions of Loss and Grief (Radix Media). In 2018, she won first-place awards for the Keats-Shelley Prize for adult poetry and the New York State Fair poetry competition.

About the Interviewer:

Shelly Weathers’ fiction has appeared in Tahoma Literary Review, Adroit, Sou’wester, Moon City Review, Timber, and elsewhere. Her work has been recognized with the 2013 Beacon Street Prize in Fiction and the 2014 John Steinbeck Short Story Award. She lives in the desert Southwest with her family.