Title: Down On The Other Street (Volume Two)
Author Name: Jennifer Cie
Publication Date & Length: April 13, 2015 – 152pgs
Scars dripping over broken skin and whispers silenced, there can be no point of return. Wrapped in the ripples of warm waters, staring down at unkempt mountains, Stefanie can feel the thrum of the old world’s song. The first conversation, stained into ceramic cups and shadows in the night, gave birth to the last confession. Before metal bars clanged shut or chanting grew quiet, there was the woman with the violet smile. Somewhere in the gaggle of exposed bodies, worn cassettes and children’s fairy tales, he is waiting for the red coat. Woven together through trials of sexuality, political dissonance, and self-discovery, this heady collection of six short stories examines who we become after finding love
This second collection is every bit as good as the first—maybe even better. These are so well-written, intelligent, and witty. I’m just in awe of the way the author uses language to paint such vivid pictures.
It would be hard to pick a favorite from this set. Every time I thought I’d found the one I liked best, Ms. Cie delivered another one that knocked me over.
It’s safe to say the author has earned a new fan. These collections should be required reading for anyone in literature or women’s studies courses. They’re so rich and beautiful, and I wish I had ten more people to discuss them with.
Sofia Aguilar changed that.
I literally fell into her at a restaurant in East Memphis. I was there with a friend who swore that little shack had the best hot wings in the city. I don’t recall if that was true. I just remember tasting her.
I tripped over a chair while coming out of the bathroom and landed in her lap, with my lips drilled into her shoulder. It was a sweet kind of salty, like brown sugar thrown on top of salted nuts. I tried apologizing. She grinned at me and rubbed my back.
The warmth returned.
Each glance at her grin-turned-smirk, dark brown eyes, or touch of her hand swirling electric heat into my skin brought on even stronger flushes than before. She knew it too. The way she cooed, “Amor? Está bien,” as if her lap was my rightful place, as if we were lovers, could only have been an effort to make me combust.
When I finally lifted myself off of her, hoping there were no signs of what I was feeling, she held my hand. She pulled me close, whispered that she was happy about my fall, and slipped a napkin with her number written on it into my hands.
Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?
Honestly, normally its one two things: a) the back corner of a coffee shop, with my headphones in–so no one realizes I’m people watching in between breaks, sitting at the smallest table available with three or four books scattered across the table that have nothing to do with what I’m writing; or b) on my living room floor using the coffee table to scribble out dialogue.
Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?
All of them! Haha. No, seriously, I think that I relate the most to Alexis, the protagonist in the book’s first short story: The Drive. Having to navigate who you are and want you want in relationship is something universal, but with Alexis at the heart of that puzzle is the struggle to define gender and sexuality. It’s something that I can definitely empathize with.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?
Research. I love working with social science research, especially studies geared towards education and community development.
Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?
Don’t be afraid to change direction.
I think I got so comfortable with following following draft outlines to the letter–like in school when they teach you the three bullet points for a five paragraph essay style–that I would forget to let stories breathe. When the time came for a piece to change directions I would hesitate. I absolutely wish I hadn’t spent so much time doubting myself, because the best things I’ve written have come from straying directions.
Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?
The name. I didn’t really think through the idea of writing a series of standalone short stories very well haha.
How do you come up with new ideas for your story?
You know, with this Volume, I just sat down and asked what stories my younger self should’ve read. I think that talk with myself brought some pretty good ideas to life.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Next? Hopefully, finishing Vol 3 of Down On The Other Street, and creating some really high-five kinds of great fiction.
Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?
I live in the Midwest, Ohio actually. It’s kind of funny you ask about influences, because I moved here partially to write. I’d forgotten what its like to be in an area that doesn’t shut down when it snows, and needed that experience to write the characters I was developing in an honest way.
What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?
Hmm. I will read just about any type fiction, but lately historical fiction has a hold on me.
Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?
If I’m being honest: eggrolls, spirits, and cranberry juice. They are my kryptonite.
Scars dripping over broken skin and whispers silenced, there can be no point of return. Wrapped in the ripples of warm waters, staring down at unkempt mountains, Stefanie can feel the thrum of the old world’s song. The first conversation, stained into ceramic cups and shadows in the night, gave birth to the last confession. Before metal bars clanged shut or chanting grew quiet, there was the woman with the violet smile. Somewhere in the gaggle of exposed bodies, worn cassettes and children’s fairy tales, he is waiting for the red coat. Woven together through trials of sexuality, political dissonance, and self-discovery, this heady collection of six short stories examines who we become after finding love.