Dinner Table Drama In 'The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons'

Dec 11, 2014

Credit courtesy of Heather Slomski

Heather Slomski recently released her collection of short fiction The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons. Now living in Minnesota, Slomski got her MFA at Western Michigan University. Her work has appeared in TriQuarterly, The Normal School, and other publications. She also won the Iowa Award for Short Fiction.

Slomski says she didn't realize how many dining scenes she had in her writing until she put together the collection. 

"It also made me realize how much I really enjoy cooking and having a glass of wine - and so my characters do as well," she says. "It's kind of a way to extend those fulfillments into my writing."

Uncomfortable Dinner Conversations

Whether it's a couple talking about one's infidelity or two very different neighbors, there's an element of uncomfortableness to some of Slomski's stories.

Slomski says she's interested in these difficult every day relationships and often the tough discussions come up at the dinner table. After all, we all have to eat.

"Just to give these people, these characters some tight quarters where they have to face whatever it is they're facing," she says.

Making Scraps Into Idea Soup

Slomski says she often gets her ideas for a story by first bring together bits and pieces.

"Some imagery and usually a phrase or a piece of language - kind of these disparate parts. And once I've gathered that, or those things come together, then I can start writing," she says.

Breaking The Rules

Slomski breaks some rules in The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons. 

"Plot isn't one of my primary interests in writing. In some stories there definitely is a strong plot, but I tend to prioritize imagery and language a bit over plot at some points," she says. "I think imagery can do a lot of the work that plot does."

In some of her stories, Slomski writes in second person - something seen as taboo in the writing world. But she says she never felt like second-person was off the table.

"It's more finding a way to use it that it's meaningful and not gimmicky -that it adds something to the story, that it seems the only way you could tell the story," Slomski explains.