Daniel Davis on “Grandma’s House”

“Grandma’s House” began as an exercise in a graduate creative writing course.  For the life of me, I can’t remember the prompt; I doubt it had little to do with the story’s final form anyways.  I wanted to write a story about the intermingling of happiness and sorrow.  One of my favorite themes in writing is the way in which one thing can lead to its opposite: joy to despair, good to evil, or vice versa.  (I’m not always a pessimist.)
“To this end, I took two elements from my childhood.  The first was my grandparents’ house: I have plenty of good memories (and even better cookies and pudding) from there, and I wondered what it would be like to live in such a place, filled with memories, for so many years.  I combined it with my greatest fear from childhood: tornadoes.  I’ve never been through one, thank God, but it’s been close, and I wondered what would happen if someone’s entire life–we’re talking generations here–was stripped away in a matter of minutes.  What would that person be going through?  Would someone who hasn’t been through it even understand?  The answer is “no, of course not,” and the result is “Grandma’s House,” which may not answer any questions, but it certainly raises a few–if only in my own mind–and that’s good enough for me.”

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