“One Thousand Paper Cranes” Now Out in Kaleidotrope

“One Thousand Paper Cranes” took its time. Both the writing of it and its emergence in a magazine. I’m almost afraid to go back and read it. What was I thinking about a year ago? Who was I back then?  Questions which tie to the story.

“One Thousand Paper Cranes” is a very Julie story. It’s about love and loss and science(!).  Set in a near future world, stretching time has become a state-sanctioned way of fixing personality problems. Troubled, self-destructive, acting out? Try CR-Rest: chemically-regulated, restricted-environmental-stimulation therapy.

“One Thousand Paper Cranes” is also concerned with the fate of the people we once were. The man I used to love and now dismiss as perpetually juvenile. The woman that used to rule my amygdala-generated fears. My unquenchable desire for milk chocolate Cadbury eggs. Where do our old selves, with all those passions and perspectives, go?

Most of my stories take a year or two before I finish with them or–to look at it another way–before they finish with me. Looking back is always a portal experience that forces me to visit the ghosts of my past. Perhaps its time to pull out the lighter and release some cranes.

First Lines:

October, 2026: Remembering the Past Part 1

There is a story Elijah likes to tell himself. This story is set long before the fire, more than ten years ago, back in 2015.

Elijah was the younger brother, only eight years old, and Callie was the older sister who sent handwritten notes to the dead. Callie had long curly hair that frizzed in the summer till it was just like Elijah’s. Her skin was pale Irish, shades lighter than Elijah’s. Elijah had never met his father, though their mother claimed he was Caribbean-American. From Antigua, she always added, as though that last detail made it magically true. (Continue reading…)

2 comments

  • I don’t want to think too hard about this, but it’s complicated! How do you write hope and despair, confusion, beauty and ugliness, pain, loss, love….all into one story. Something so totally human about this….wow, Julie! Pretty brilliant!

  • Thanks, Betsy! I am so glad you like it. Even more, I’m thrilled you experienced what to me is the heart of the story. It really made my day. I had to channel more than a bit of a broken heart to write it. For me the concept of part selves really describes people best. Our child self. Our anxious self. Our mothering self. We aren’t really any single thing. We are all multitudes–which is lovely and complicated and sometimes heartbreaking.

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