In our new author series, we’ll be offering a clairvoyant peek behind the veil of who and what makes up TRANSCENDENT. Here’s a glimpse at Lindsay Zibach and her story “The Dream Lover.”
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
I have a “happy place” I go to when I’m trying to fall asleep—I think most people do! I was interested in exploring the sentience of that happy place and giving it a face, feelings, and an existential crisis. I love epistolary writing, but only when the form is serving a greater narrative function. Once I started writing as “The Dream Lover,” and questioning how a dream lover would be able to write a letter, both the structure and the story became clear.
Did you have to do any research? If so, what kind? What did you learn?
No, I did not. Everything in the story was drawn from either experience or experimenting with the characters’ motivations for their behavior.
Can you tell me a little bit about your protagonist?
The Dream Lover suffers from a bit of a Pinocchio-syndrome in his desperation to be “real.” The more self-aware he becomes, the more questions and rejects his reality. His outer frametale is creepy, controlling and monstrous, but I wanted in his inner story to be empathetic and a bit sad.
Tell me about the setting you chose and how it influences your work.
As the setting is technically a woman’s unconscious mind, I’d say it influences my work every night between 10pm and 6am. I wanted the world to feel like a dream: sharp in focus but blurred on the edges, and with distractions so vivid that you don’t worry about the fact that nothing around you actually makes sense.
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
I hope to give readers few uneasy moments in that netherspace between being awake and falling asleep. Bonus points if anyone remembers it while dreaming!
Which phrase are you most proud of in this story?
(Spoiler-free zone) The final sentence. It took several rounds of edits to crack, but I’m so happy with the pacing between those final two words.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
My husband and I treated ourselves to a projector and a 100-inch screen to celebrate a project that I wrote and he art directed. We hadn’t made any money off the project at the time of purchase, but it was the best reward to watch Game of Thrones on that screen for the first time.
If you had to put your name on someone else’s book/story, which would it be and why?
This question feels sacrilegious because I revere this author so much, BUT, if anyone ever confused my work with Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties, I could die a happy mouse. Machado is the High Priestess of Similes and Slow-Burn Horror, and I have suspicions that she might actually be Shirley Jackson reincarnated.
When did you decide to take writing seriously?
I signed up for Spalding University’s MFA program with the promise that even if writing never brought in big/good/any money, I could rest in the knowledge that I had improved as an artist and dedicated energy to my art. Though I didn’t publish a single story for the duration of the program, I won the Grand Prize for the Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Contest a few weeks after graduation. I knew then that if Francis Ford Coppola’s magazine took my writing seriously, then so should I.
If you could choose a single superpower, what would it be and why?
Backflips! Because… backflips.
Lindsay Zibach has written for Disney XD, The Hollywood Reporter, and Fast Company, and is a former producer for The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Nat Geo WILD. She won the Grand Prize for the 2016 Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Contest and has an M.F.A. in Writing from Spalding University.