portion of the artwork for Kim Magowan's stories

Kim Magowan’s Comments

One of the things I love about FRiGG is that flashes are often (usually) presented in groups of three. I didn’t write these three micros intentionally as a group, but I did write all of them within the same week (late May 2019), and I agree with editor Ellen Parker that as a trio, they take on added heft. Ellen noted, when she first contacted me, two threads the stories have in common: the narrators in all three stories are bitter, and all three concern the narrator leaving someone close to her, or being left by someone close to her, or, as Ellen acutely put it, “or both (it’s always both).” I don’t have much to add to Ellen’s observations—I think she sees the stories more clearly than I do! I read her original email with a kind of shock of recognition.

But since bitterness comes in many different flavors, I will add something else about the particular quality of these narrators' bitterness. They are pissed off about not merely being betrayed, but also being underestimated (“Fromage”); being used, as a receptacle to make someone else feel better (“The Spoon”); and being forgotten and neglected (“Dear Dave”). All three narrators are badly treated, and they retaliate in various ways—by spying, by escaping, by scolding. Furthermore, they try to make themselves feel better by reassuring themselves that they know better than those who have injured them—they know what the estranged husband is up to, or how their mother has exploited them, or what constitutes good manners and common decency. But that knowledge makes for a chilly bedfellow. So I see these three stories, thanks to FRiGG, and thanks to Ellen, as about bitterness, but also as about cold comfort. The only one of these narrators who isn’t currently writhing in anger is the one in “The Spoon,” and her story literally ends with “tears.”


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 54 | Fall/Winter 2019