Author reads flash-fiction on apocalypses
Megan Valley | Thursday, January 22, 2015
The Creative Writing Program hosted a reading by Lucy Corin Wednesday night in Hammes Notre Dame bookstore. After a brief introduction from Steve Tomasula, professor of English, Corin read excerpts from her latest book “One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses,” a collection of short pieces centering around an apocalypse.
“The idea came from a personal challenge,” Corin said. “I’d take any idea or bit of writing I had and turn it into an apocalypse. I had put together a book, but I didn’t know how to make it a good book.”
The book consists of 100 apocalypses: there are three longer stories followed by a set of flash fictions, or short short-stories sometimes lasting just a few lines long, Corin said. At the event, the author read more than a dozen of her flash fictions.
While all of Corin’s pieces are centered around an apocalypse, the crisis itself is not always styled in the typical manner, she said. The topics, instead, are widely varied: a new mother on maternity leave kills her child because it’s too much work; an unknown narrator describes how to tell if a girl has lost her virginity; a daughter comes home to see that her father has been cut in half by a garage door. According to Corin, some are more experimental in style than others.
Following her reading of one of her flash fiction pieces, titled “Hangings,” she said the story is “supposed to get all messed up with your perceptions.”
After the reading, Corin answered questions from the audience. Many of the questions were centered around the dark themes in her book, as well as in her other books, including “Everyday Psycho Killers — A History For Girls.” She explained that as a child, her sister had always been far more interested in the macabre than she had been.
“I just fell into the tunnel. I had a relationship [with dark material], but it was a wary one,” Corin said.
In the 1990s, Corin said she noticed the cyclic relationship people had with terrible events, such as brutal killings and kidnappings, especially during many prevalent cases that were shown on television at the time.
“You’d watch yourself move from pleasure to self-aware pleasure to disgust at yourself for enjoying it,” she said. “I used to kind of sneer at people who didn’t want to see that sort of thing in movies. I was like, ‘Come on, it’s about murder, we love that!’ But I get it now.”
Corin said is currently working on a novel, “The Swank Hotel.”
“I have my psychopath book, I have my apocalypse book, but I’m trying to remove myself from that sort of thinking when I’m not working on it,” she said.