The Story Behind the Story: “Visceral”

At the time when I wrote “Visceral” I had been spending a lot of time reading books about Buddhism, Hinduism, yoga, and meditation, as well as practicing a good deal of meditation and yoga myself, and so the ideas that the story revolves around—boundary, separation, union, interconnectedness—were very much at the forefront of my mind.

Like many of my stories, and like a lot of surrealist or magic realist literature, the action revolves around the physical, outward manifestation of an inner state or an intellectual concept. It springs from a sort of musing on the idea of what life would be like if our minds, our thoughts, our preoccupations, were manifest in the material world.

I feel it bears mentioning, too, as part of the Story Behind the Story, that “Visceral” was accepted by Fiction Southeast almost three years to the day after I first started sending it out to journals. In the meantime, the story received a couple dozen rejections and went through several significant revisions, including a change from a story into a poem and then back into a story again. I find that, even with a short piece like this, clocking in around 600 words, the process can be a long one. Ultimately, though, like in meditation or yoga, the process itself is the destination and the reward.

Of course, finding a good home for the piece here at Fiction Southwest was a pretty nice reward, too.

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Flash Audio Series: “Visceral”

2016-10-03 06:46:58
matttompkins

18

“Visceral”

It started as a small slit: just a little opening in the skin, right at the dead-center of my sternum. I spotted it
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Beyond Show Don’t Tell: The Poetic Image in Fiction

A few years ago, I came across a memorable TEDx lecture by Dr. Joe Dispenza titled “Our Three Brains: From Thinking t
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lauraevalerigmail-com

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“Joyce Carol Oates’ The Lost Landscape is a Memoir for The Ages”

Memoirs written by famous writers are viewed by readers as special gifts, invites into the personal lives
2016-03-24 19:31:45
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Why I Write: Michelle Ross

A relative recently wrote to me because he recognized another family member in a fiction piece of mine. He condemned
2015-07-11 06:51:07
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“Breath” by Doug Ramspeck

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“Gravitate”

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“Fly Season”

In a room without furniture, the flies have nowhere to land. They flit from wall to wall, winged dirt, smearing the
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I work from a small room in our loft, and Alice is always after me to get out more. Sometimes in the middle of the
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“Lowlands”

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About Matt Tompkins

Matt Tompkins is the author of two books: Souvenirs and Other Stories (Conium Press) and Studies in Hybrid Morphology (tNY Press). Matt’s stories have appeared in the New Haven Review, Post Road, and online at the Carolina Quarterly. He works in a library and lives in upstate New York with his wife (who kindly reads his first drafts), his daughter (who prefers picture books) and his cat (who is illiterate).