Rae Bryant’s fiction opens our December issue and she talks with us about her writing, that which she would rule and more.
1. What would you like to be the empress of?
I am already empress of the coffee pot in the morning, laundry in the afternoon, art and mystery in the evening, and the only person who may call me empress is my husband.
2. Why are writers so obsessed with calling things “cerulean”? Use “cerulean” in the most inappropriate context you can think of (example: Jon’s face turned cerulean after forgetting his safe word).
Why are writers obsessed with anything? Cerulean is water and mystery and pain and abstinence. Say it: cer-ul-e-an. It forms in the full of your mouth, on the length of your tongue. You cannot say cerulean without tasting the word and letting it roll around inside you like a fine wine or rich chocolate. Can’t you imagine whispering it soft and slow into your lover’s ear? 17th century Romans wrote cerulean as the sky or the blue-green Mediterranean, not just a color, but a mystery of nature. “Blue”Â conjures familiarity, which is lovely. Familiarity has its uses, but should not be used with wild abandon. Neither should exotic colors, but when appropriate, hue can give a story depth and canvas all at once, whereas blue conjures a two-dimensional space, crayon wax, a wall. A child paints with blue watercolors. Cerulean is an artist’s stroke of oil. It pulls the reader into three layers of peacock feathers or pleasure unrequited on a man who wants nothing more than to know the full touch of a lover, but cannot have it. Cerulean colors a man bruised, blue-green, a mark of pain and abstinence. Off to write another story now.
3. How does a smell infect a room?
Have you ever had your heart broken? Do you remember the last smell of your lover left on a shirt or pillow case? Still drifting in the room, on the air? The room will never feel the same again. Your lover has infected the space that was once your own, but now, will always hold your lover’s imprint. The scent of a lost lover is the hardest infection to irrigate.
4. Which language would you use instead of Spanish for your story in PANK?
I wouldn’t use another language for “Empress.”Â The story is meant to be heard, felt in the mouth. It would have tasted completely different in French.
5. How do you want your last words to be heard?
By my daughter, beside a cerulean sea, and the words would not be my own: “I do not wish women to have power over men, but over themselves.”Â Mary Wollstonecraft.
6. What is your favorite color?
I don’t have one. I don’t believe anyone truly does. It’s a question like who is your favorite child.