The Story Behind the Story: “Girl in Doubt”

This story was written solo, but exists as part of a collaborative manuscript co-written with Aimee Parkison. While we wrote some of the material as individual authors, the bulk of the stories were collaborations, all centered on the theme of women and girls in confinement and captivity. Aimee and I titled our book “Girl Zoo,” and each chapter begins with the words “Girl in …”

My impetus for writing “Girl in Doubt” came from writing several stories where the protagonist was in immediate danger. Yet so often the fear of danger operates even when there is no danger, serves as a force of control, even as mental torture. So I created a protagonist whose uncertainty about whether she is or isn’t in danger is, itself, dangerous. Her inability to read signals, to trust herself, to know whether or not to trust others creates a constant state of dread and anxiety.

Although Aimee and I began working on our book before the “Me, Too” movement took hold in the popular public sphere, we are excited to follow the rising national discourse on gender, sexuality, race, and consent.

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About Carol Guess

Carol Guess is the author of numerous books of poetry and prose, including Darling Endangered, Doll Studies: Forensics, and Tinderbox Lawn. A frequent collaborator, she has co-authored several books, including The Reckless Remainder and With Animal (both with Kelly Magee). In 2014 she was awarded the Philolexian Award for Distinguished Literary Achievement by Columbia University. She teaches in the MFA program at Western Washington University.