“Salt” is a short piece that began life as a writing prompt. The prompt was “Describe the texture of salt.” Or something like that. It was enough to get my pen moving and I quickly had a middle-aged woman waiting in a cafe, playing with spilled granules of salt on the table. She was waiting for someone but I had no idea who.
A few weeks later, in late October, the shooting on Parliament Hill happened. A gunman shot and killed one of the guards at the War Memorial and then ran up to Centre Block on the Hill to inflict as much damage as he could there. I don’t want to go into whys and wherefores of that day, about whether the gunman was mentally ill, recruited by Isis or whatever. But one thing that struck me was how young he looked. I knew who my character was waiting for that day. Her son.
I’m pretty happy with that piece, which is rare for me (even more so after a story’s been published and I suddenly see all the places it could be improved, made sharper, shorter, punchier). And I’m happy to have it included in Firewords, which is a great little magazine of short fiction and poetry.