Jessica Love, a native Memphian, serves seventy steaks a night while writing stories about mermaids in her head. She is a short fiction and nonfiction writer, who dabbles in poetry. Her short stories, “Eight Weeks to the Sea” and “The Losing Man,” have been published in Castings, the literary journal of Christian Brothers University, where she is currently earning her B A in Creative Writing. Jessica’s poetry and short stories have won several awards, and she has attended the Irish Writing Program in Dublin, Ireland through the University of Iowa.
Jessica's piece, "H(us)ks," appears in issue 20 of Under the Gum Tree, published July 2016.
Q. When did you start writing and why? What inspires your writing now?
A. In the most cliched sense, I've always wanted to tell stories. As a child, I created my own fairytales. Today, I write magical realism. I love trying to understand people through extended metaphors.
Q. Why are you drawn to nonfiction? What can you express through nonfiction?
A. I think the stories about ourselves and our families are the first stories we know, and while they may seem like the easiest to tell, the truths that we find out in our most personal stories are the hardest and most gratifying to grapple with. Creative nonfiction allows you to discover these truths.
Q. You use lots of figurative language in your piece, what do you think this adds to a story and why did you include it here?
A. Figurative language is creative writing. To be able to portray the emotions I'm feeling to the reader; I need images and metaphors.
Q. What events do you think warrant a story or should be written about?
A. I attended the Southern Literary Festival this past April, and Ann Patchett spoke about why she writes. I don't remember everything that she said, but one thing stuck out: she writes the stories that she wants to be told. I believe in that. I tell the stories I want to hear in my fiction, and the stories I need to hear in my nonfiction.
Q. Explain the significance of the title of the piece. Your family turmoil doesn't really dissolve by the end of the piece. Why did you feel it was important to write this piece and what message did you intend to be left with the reader?
A. "H(us)ks" is a story about my childhood relationship with my mom, and the layers of that relationship. It's a story about the traces of your parents that you find in yourself. The story is framed within the day that I found out that my parents were getting divorced, and, as a child, this was the day that played on repeat.