FICTION EDITOR MICHAEL SARINSKY DISCUSSES "NO ONE KNOWS WHAT" BY CATHERINE LACEY
It's easy to write about the passage of time. Throw a couple em-dashes into a Word document, maybe a double space break, and leave your readers grasping for the years skipped over. Harder is making them feel like their lives are passing, having readers close your story and touch a mirror, like Catherine Lacey's "No One Knows What" often drove me to do while we finalized Washington Square Review #37. This piece moved us, is what I'm saying. "Some years later," it starts, and then dispenses the sort of wisdom that can only be accessed with age.
Time is a procession of moments, and whether they're spent at the grocery store or lying in bed next to your deceased husband they all move at the same speed. We published a lot of short fiction in this issue, not because we got restless or didn't love many of the longer pieces we were sent, but because they reminded us how little it takes to miss the important stuff. Catherine Lacey's unnamed protagonist grows old in about the time it takes to brush your teeth. Rinse. Spit. Lift your head back up to the mirror. Do you look younger now, or older? Are you sure?