M

Privy

by Su-Yee Lin

You are not privy to the knowledge. Privy is from the Latin privatus, which of course, means private. There are many things you are not privy to: your sister’s love life, your husband’s job drama, your father’s hobbies, your best friend’s thoughts. Who are these people, you think, who hide themselves from me. Who are these people I have surrounded myself with. Who am I that I can live this way, skimming the surfaces of our lives, no connections at all. You watch them with your binoculars, listen to their phone calls, drop your newfound information on them to shock but they are unshocked and unsurprised. I didn’t tell you? They say, but how did you know if I didn’t? Their words tangle up with the things you know, your head filled with their information until it fills you up like a volcano about to erupt. Now you know the curse of knowing; now you are the one to stay silent and the knowledge and the silence will kill you like a lightning strike straight to the heart.

Su-Yee Lin is a writer from New York with work published in The Offing, Strange Horizons, Day One, Bennington Review, NANO Fiction, Electric Literature, and other literary journals. A 2012 Fulbright Fellow to China and 2014 fellow at the Center for Fiction, she also recently received a Pushcart Prize. She is working on a collection of magical-realist short stories as well as a novel.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Privy”?

In the last few years, I’ve been quite interested in microfiction, pushing the boundaries of form with the concept of what a story actually is. Originally inspired to write microfiction by a 100-word story contest, I’ve found that I really enjoy crafting prose with such tight limitations. “Privy,” in particular, was mostly inspired by the actual word privy and how it is most often used in the negative, usually in regard to knowledge or information. From there, the rest of the story was an extrapolation of that concept.

News

Congrats to the Best Small Fictions nominations from Matter Press for Compressed Creative Arts: Sara Backer’s “Oh, What a Night”; Dan Crawley’s “Powers”; Jill Talbot’s “Malahat Highway on Boxing Day”; Christopher Allen’s “Falling Man;” and Kathy Fish’s “Five Micros.”

Submissions

Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now closed. Check out our new category triptychs! The submission period opens March 15, 2019; submit here.

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