It’s kind of become a tradition that I interview the contributors to my anthologies and share those interviews on my blog. It’s also kind of become a tradition that it takes me a very long time to get them all posted. I plan to continue the first tradition but I’m hoping to avoid the second. Just to be different. We’re going to start off this week with a newcomer to the Alphabet Anthology series–Michael B. Tager. As seems to happen every time someone new joins the crew Michael was assigned one of the trickier letters in the alphabet, but I’ll let him tell you about it in his
What letter were you assigned?
Q. Because there’s no better way to inspire creativity than to be given constraints like that.
Did you struggle with the letter you were given?
Kind of? Sometimes I like to write from the title backward, so I looked up interesting words that start with Q. in a way, it’s easier (imagine looking through all the Ms for a fun word).
What was your favourite idea for the ‘word’ to use in your title that you didn’t use?
The story that appears in C is for Chimera was actually the second story I wrote. Quietus was the first word, which didn’t pan out for this anthology, unfortunately, but it’s still a dope piece (and published elsewhere).
What kind of chimera is your story about?
It’s both a creature—though not the directly mythological—and one of the other meanings: illusory.
What, other than the letter you were assigned, helped inspire your story?
Who knows where inspiration comes? While sometimes I can find a direct source, most often it’s a combination of inspirations. This is one of the latter occasions.
Lion, goat or snake–which are you more like?
That’s like asking what magical house you’d be Sorted into. We all want to think we’re the lion or the snake, but hell, I’m probably a goat (though I’m not particularly sure-footed).
If you were going to be magically transformed into a chimera composed of three different creatures, what would you want them to be? Honey badger, otter, porcupine.
What if it wasn’t limited to creatures? What three things would you want to be composed of?
Air, tacos, haughty.
Unrealizable dreams have been called chimeras. Taking the ‘unrealizable’ part out of the equation, what is one of your fondest dreams/goals?
Well, I’m making a go of it at this writer thing/publisher/editor thing. I think it’ll happen, albeit slowly. .
Can you share a short excerpt from your story?
While the master regained energy, the student chanced and look down, past her flowing amber robes, past the next fifty yards of ladder, to the jutting outline of their destination. The ancient cold metal of the ladder burned through her sandals and into her callused feet. She ignored the depths below her. She repeated the mantra of the monastery. Life is the illusion before death. We were nothing before we were something. We will be nothing again. The quaking in her gut subsided.
When the master was ready, they continued. It rained briefly, a harsh, cold rain that set their teeth to chattering. She missed her long hair that would have kept her degrees warmer. She wished for better under things than the shapeless rags under her robes. But she repeated the mantra over and over. She was not special. She was part of the world.
Michael B. Tager is the author of the fiction collection “Always Tomorrow” and “Pop Culture Poems,” a poetry chapbook (Mason Jar Press). He is currently writing a book of memoir told through essays about video games. He likes Buffy and the Baltimore Orioles. Find more of his work online at michaelbtager.com.
Find C is for Chimera online: