16: Hannah Pittard, "The Story of Patricia"

It's December 16. Hannah Pittard, author of Reunion and The Fates Will Find Their Way, just found herself a second wheelhouse.

How would you describe your story?

HANNAH PITTARD: "The Story of Patricia" is futuristic—for me it is. I’m normally more of a Kmart realist meets em-dash stylist. So this story feels out of my wheelhouse. That said, like most of what I write, it’s also about the nature and art of storytelling. Also, it’s a love story.

When did you write it, and how did the writing process compare to your other work?

HP: I wrote the first draft quickly, a few winters ago, maybe even in one sitting. And then, for a very long time, I didn’t look at it. The fast writing is indicative of how I work. The silent treatment I gave it isn’t. 

What, for you, are the essential elements of a good short story? 

HP: Seduction. 

Did this story require any research?

HP: There was a very short video that was shown while I was at MacDowell. It had been part of the Video-Dumbo festival. What I watched was only two or three minutes long, but I remember being inspired by its strangeness and its quality of being out of place and out of time but also very visceral. 

Where can people go to learn more about you and your work?

HP: hannahpittard.com.

What's on your Christmas list this year?

HP: We have eliminated gifts! It’s taken years but my family has finally come around to the idea that the real fun of Christmas is eating and drinking together. So we eat well and we drink well, but if you’re over 21, then you’re probably not getting a gift from anyone—list or no. This is true for my husband and me as well. I still love giving gifts, but not during the holidays. When I see something that I know should belong to someone I love, I buy it and give it to them. For me, that’s more satisfying.