The Story Behind the Story: “Levitation”

“Levitation” was inspired by my three children.  Someone said to me on the day I was getting divorced, “Just remember, your children are as foreign to you as the spouse you bore them with.”  My children were very young then, and the kernel of truth inherent in this has haunted me throughout their lives.  Their foreignness and familiarity inform much of my focus as a writer, and I tried in this story to make the age of the narrator’s daughter ambiguous because the foreignness and familiarity are a source of joy, mystery, and magic that have evolved throughout my experience with them.  Now that I have grandchildren, those dimensions  have grown exponentially.  The most difficult aspect in exploring these ideas was creating a strong sentiment and staying away from sentimentality.  This may be apocryphal, but when I was an undergraduate creative writing student, James Dickey was quoted in class as saying something to the effect that good stories strive for sentiment without crossing the invisible line into sentimentality.  Draft after draft of this was abandoned because I crossed that line over and over again.  I hope this version has managed to get close without going over.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Featured Fiction New Fiction Essays/Articles (all) Finalist for Ernest Hemingway Flash Fiction Prize
Sort by

“Levitation”

My daughter goes belly first down the slide, the skin below her shorts squeaking against the hot plastic.  She arcs
2018-10-29 13:29:09
trivard

10

“Guests”

I was talking with the woman I call my wife because that’s what she is most of the time. Love on, love off.
2014-11-02 06:00:01
galef

8

“Rabbit County”

Jeremy said that one of Marsha’s rabbits got away again.  He told me last night while we were sitting in Dino’s wait
2019-11-15 09:07:07
asmith18

0

“Human Noise”

I dread first days of school. Teachers—and later, professors—ask their students to go around the room and give a “fu
2019-11-08 23:57:44
taylorhickney

0

“Catfish”

Catfish swim in a circle.
2019-10-30 09:23:05
katlin-brock

0

“Come and Gone”

I’ve got six hours of driving ahead of me, but I’m taking it easy with an iced coffee between my thighs. Cars rush by
2019-10-28 23:55:57
julianacrespo

0

“Fire’s Aftermath: Joan and the Pets”

After the fire, Joan received a post from Next Door about free kittens. Looking at the picture of the five kittens
2019-10-25 23:54:42
kikadorsey

0

“I’m Blue”

Caracas, Venezuela They fly around the city making their cawing sounds, behaving like nothing is
2019-10-18 20:10:41
lvocem

0

“5 AM”

Jeremy says I’m a waste of weed because I can never pull anything into my lungs. Now
2019-10-14 23:49:29
sraghav

0

“Aimee’s Alibi”

Aimee Semple McPherson was kidnapped from Ocean Park Beach near Santa Monica on May 18, 1926 by two men and a woman,
2019-10-11 23:51:11
clio

0

About TJ Rivard

TJ Rivard has published in the Kentucky Poetry Review, Cafe Irreal, SmokeLong Quarterly, flashquake, FewerThan500, Eureka Literary Magazine, Gulf Stream Magazine the Oxford Magazine, and others. He lives in Richmond, Indiana with his wife, Beth, and teaches at Indiana University East.