I recently received an invitation to take part in the beta version of a new literary website launching in September called Catapult. This joint effort between Electric Literature and Black Balloon Publishing aims to promote new writing and community building, as well as offering writing classes.
I took the plunge and posted a story to the site, a fairy tale I wrote earlier this year called “Dr. B.F. Knoll and Amelia, his Wife.” The story had three inspirations: a tomb I frequently walk past in Green-wood Cemetery (pictured left), Amelia Earhart, and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. I found the inscription on the tomb strange, although very common on many of the headstones I have encountered in the historical cemetery next to my apartment. Often when a husband and wife are buried together, the husband is named first, and the wife is listed second and noted as being his wife, as though that were a title on par with “Dr.” I changed the name from Helena (listed on the tomb that inspired me) to Amelia as a tribute to Amelia Earhart, who famously wrote a letter to future husband George Putnam with her terrifically feminist views on the institution of marriage.
Finally, I wanted to honor the legacy of The Handmaid’s Tale by writing a story about a world very similar to our own, save for one horrific difference: wives are required to sleep in cages at night (this is also a wink to Kate Bernheimer and her fantastic fairy tale collection Horse Flower Bird, which includes a story about a stripper who performs in a birdcage).
Head over to Catapult to check out the story. Happy reading!