I think what gave me the ability to be able to talk about the event is imagining it and imbuing that with my present ideas of lyric imagination and surrealism. I didn’t know what surrealism was when I was five, but I have the material to imagine it as surreal now.
The first book that I wrote when I was vastly younger than I am now was based on my own family, but the point of view it took was my mother’s, a character, whom I would offer was often at odds with in real life. So I wanted to make that jump as something that writing could do, and I think I got some of that idea from Chekhov, whose writing I loved.
I wanted some people that I didn’t personally know either and just thought, well, each one of these people has a mother who may or may not still be with us, who may be forced to still live in the area where they lost their child, someplace that they walk past every day. And they’re out of our hands.