Unintended Symbolism

“The 5:22” is the first of my stories to be adapted for the screen. Chicago filmmaker Bernadette Demisay made a beautiful short film of about 22 minutes that played the festival circuit in 2006 and 2007. I talk about how it is for a writer to see his words come alive on the screen in an interview with Spoiler Alert Radio (http://www.podcast.com/TV-and-Film/I-205199.htm) in Providence, Rhode Island. One surprise: the filmmaker found symbolism where I hadn’t consciously intended it—such as when my main character presses his ear to the tracks to hear if a train is coming. (You can read “The 5:22” to see what I mean).

The Dark Side

What is “noir” in fiction? Makes me think of Garrison Keillor’s private eye Guy Noir. But apparently the answer is very broad, given the scope of stories in “Boston Noir 2: The Classics” (Akashic Books). Authors include David Foster Wallace, Joyce Carol Oates, Andre Dubus and others (the group that includes me). My story “The 5:22,” which I wrote in 1999 and was chosen for Best American Short Stories that year, was picked for its Twilight Zone feel. In reviewing the anthology the Boston Globe described “The 5:22” as “like a ghost story…with a delightful twist.” That’s a take on it I hadn’t heard before.