Smoking With Shaindel Beers

Read the Story September 28, 2009

Assuming there are people this “numerically aware,” I must ask if the character is based on a persona you have encountered?

I’m completely sure there are people this numerically aware. I have friends who have perfect numbers engraved in their wedding rings. To be honest, this story just “came to me” as I was lying in bed one night, so there wasn’t any conscious thought put into it. The character reminds me of the character in Yoko Ogawa’s The Housekeeper and the Professor. That book is still on my nightstand so some sort of osmosis may be at work here.

Because this piece has such carefully chosen words, it is clear that the insertion of “God willing” into a story of man who is a mathematician, a man who relies on the power of numbers, was done with purpose. How would God fit into this character’s life?

Numerology is a type of spirituality just as a more traditional belief in God is. I also think that someone who would imagine a whole life with someone he has never seen based only on numerical information on a form might also be the type of person who would believe in God, or at least have a fear of jinxing his imagined children’s lives by looking so far ahead into the future.

This seems like writing this piece must have been fun. Was it? Is writing fun for you? And, when?

I love this piece. And it was exciting that it just appeared in my head. The sad part is that I was too lazy to get out of bed to write it down immediately, so I just kept running it through my head over and over again until it was ingrained there. I probably would have slept that night if I’d just gotten up.

How about the toils of writing. Is it ever not fun?
I think writing is only not fun when you’re not realistic about it. You can’t expect things to be brilliant without work. You can’t expect everything that you send out to a publisher to be picked up. You can’t expect to win every contest you enter.

How do you typically celebrate Pi Day?

I usually just send the math department at my college a Happy Pi Day email. I think one of the math professors (of the married couple with the perfect number rings) actually brings pie to his classes on Pi Day. As an English instructor, I’m more likely to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday or Guy Fawkes Day.

About the Author:

Shaindel Beers' poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She is currently an instructor of English at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon, in eastern Oregon's high desert and serves as poetry editor of Contrary (www.contrarymagazine.com). She hosts the talk radio poetry show Translated By, which can be found at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/onword.