An Interview with Chelsea Hickok

What do you find appealing about the short story form? 

I like the challenge of getting as much empathy and experience as possible onto a few pages. How long does it take to make the reader feel something? It’s a thrill to get the puzzle pieces to fall into the right spots.

What influenced this piece? 

This piece was inspired by a hodge-podge of experiences I had around 2008 or so when I was an undergrad in Charleston. The way into the story was a memory of the extreme boredom of working in retail. The longer I stared at a shoe on the shelf, the more I thought I might need it for something. Boredom turned me into a bit of a voracious consumer. Though I never went as far as stealing, I did end up with too many pairs of tacky, poorly made shoes.

Which writer/body of work has informed your writing and/or inspired you?

I love reading about women who don’t do what they “should.” Around the time I wrote this story I was reading Susan Steinberg’s Spectacle, which is a powerful collection of stories about women who are bold, unapologetic, and sometimes right on the edge of losing it. Steinberg seems to have no boundaries, which is something I admire very much. A few other influences that come to mind are Miranda July, Helen Oyeyemi, and Lionel Shriver.