A Conversation With PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2019 Author Kelsey Peterson
“I think, in pursuit of truth, science and religion still have to wrestle with the strictures of human knowledge, error, pride.”
Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician and Christian apologist born in 1623. He was very close with his younger sister, Jacqueline, born in 1625, a poet who became a nun. Both were considered prodigies.
I saw a perfect circle today. The yellow disk at the center of an anemone bloomed early and whose white petals had curled back in the wind. I marveled at its humble perfection, springing forth from some superabundance of the unrelenting spring. I am curious if there is an equation for such a flower, the formula to project its arcs and angles, its radii and planes. But I think: What an excessive, joyful thing. Let us smell it and give glory to God.
Printed in the Gazette today there was a poem of some merit, and I wondered if you still write. To harness the imagination to your whimsy—it’s a dangerous, even dangerously useless gift, but you had have it.
More by this author
“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.”
More in this series
“The idea here is the casual way children can accept and parrot this kind of simple, black-and-white math about worth. So much so that in a pinch they are willing write off their own mother!”
“I wanted to address old-age sexuality, which is in general completely unmentioned in Taiwanese society.”
“For me, I guess fairytales are where I am simultaneously most at home, and most at odds with the world around me.”