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A Conversation With Best Debut Short Stories 2020 Author Sena Moon
“It’s hard to keep the imposter syndrome at bay.”
“Hello, hello,” goes the voice, immediate and rushed. It gives me an unexpected long pause to decide whether to hang up on this intrusion. Just when my thumb decides yes, I hear the voice calling out, “Jimin-ah, is that you?” before drowning into nothingness. My thumb perspires against the heat of the end button. It’s Yeju.
Seoul is sweltering that summer. Sometime around May, the sun became a nuisance and not a sporadic beacon of warmth and beauty. By June, hellfire. People share near-death experiences over the phone and I secretly rejoice. The heat wave is as good a reason as any to remain in status quo, holed up and hunched in my room, festering.
“Please don’t call again,” I write back. “Even with a different number.”
But my phone pleads. “An hour,” it says, “just an hour. Okay, thirty minutes. Even less. Please.”
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“Every interaction between adult siblings presents a chance to get more clarity about the past. Hopefully, we’re able to seize at least some of these chances.”
“I wrote much of the story listening to jazz, including the title song, for inspiration on how to shift without imposing too much of a structure.”
“I wanted to portray the pain of trying to reach someone who is inside their own, unreachable pain, and how this often puts untenable pressure on relationships.”
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“My focus was on the character and emotions of the immigrant: the loneliness, the sense of loss and disconnection.”
“The themes of social justice, the magic of water, and the power of queer love to create a different world—these are themes that I return to again and again in my writing and my life.”
“I slowly connected the dots that nearly all my friends—no matter what continent we had been on—had experienced some level of sexual violence.”