What do you find appealing about the short story form?
I love how the short story form demands compression. I'm the kind of writer who always has a bunch of different projects going on at once. I like to jump around between pieces, not be tied down to one thing. Short stories are well-suited to that habit.
What influenced this piece?
While I was dropping my son off at preschool one day, I saw one of the junior high kids lugging a baby carrier. It was apparently her week with the computerized sex-education baby. I wondered, what if a kid became attached to the fake baby? What if that fake baby fulfilled some need for companionship instead of just being a burdensome school assignment? It didn't seem to me so implausible. I could imagine a kid feeling needed and so soothed herself when she lifted that crying baby and it stopped crying. So then I wondered, who is this kid who becomes attached to her computerized baby?