“Mod Me Down”
Below, dear reader, please find bonus content for Suzanne’s book: ELEMENTS: A Collection of Speculative Fiction.
This series of posts provides stories-behind-the-stories for each tale in ELEMENTS.
Sitting in the 17th slot in the Table of Contents is: Mod Me Down
Mod Me Down is a new story, published for the first time in ELEMENTS.
I wrote the original zero draft of this story for week two of Clarion South in January of 2005. Although the central idea of the story has remained, pretty much all of the story has been trashed, rewritten, then trashed and rewritten some more.
Here’s a tip, new writers out there…ideas are worth overhauling until you get them right.
Mod Me Down takes place in New York City, one of those quintessential locations in North American culture that has to be experienced firsthand. I’ve been lucky enough to visit NYC twice.
On my first visit to the big apple, my then-husband and I spent a whirlwind weekend in Manhattan. I’m a super-sightseer (and so is he) so we maximized our time and saw so many locations I can’t remember them all, but many of the scenes in Mod Me Down are drawn from that trip, including our afternoon in Battery Park.
My absolute favourite site was the reading room at the NYC Public Library.
Our kids were pretty young while we were travelling. One of our family traditions was to take pictures of a carefully selected family stuffy as evidence that Mom and Dad (and the stuffy) were having fun on our trip.
For the NYC trip, Duckie tagged along. In this photo evidence, Duckie contemplates the meaning of freedom by gazing at the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park and then lies on a table at the library, awed by the size and scope of the place.
The first time I ever ate a knish was on my first trip to NYC. I loved them so much that I had to have Lucas eat a knish in Mod Me Down . While I’ve come across knishes in Toronto, I’ve never had one as good or as memorable as that first one in NYC. In Lucas’s words…
Outside, I ripped soft chunks of onion-and-spinach-flavored potato from a knish and shoved them in my mouth. The taste spoke of heaven and earth united.
The irony is that since that trip, I’ve developed a digestive disorder, and I can no longer eat spinach or onions. So no more of that flavor of knish for me. 🙁
But sitting here at my desk, thinking about that knish, my mouth is really watering. Man, I ‘d love to eat one right now.