Saturday, March 10, 2012

Megan Mayhew Bergman

Megan Mayhew Bergman is the author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories.

From her Q & A with Barbara Chai for the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog:

What was the seed for these stories?

There were a few, but all largely based in a particularly trying time in my life which included the birth of my first daughter, my mother-in-law’s death, my husband graduating from veterinary school, and moving 12 hours north from my home state of North Carolina to rural Vermont. These events happened within a 6-week time frame, and many of the stories grew from anticipating or processing these radical life changes.

How did the collection evolve as you wrote it? Did it come together over the course of many years, or rather quickly?

The collection was written over 3 years. What changed most significantly, for me, was becoming a mother; that shift in selfhood influenced the way I characterized both mothers and daughters; I felt things differently. There was something primal and physical about becoming a mother – never did I feel so aware of my role in the animal kingdom.

There are many female protagonists in these stories. On whom did you model them?

Often my own experiences, or manifestations of my anxiety about becoming a mother, or continuing to populate a planet in decline. There aren’t just female influences here, though. My husband and father-in-law are veterinarians (and my mother-in-law was as well); my dinner table talk gives me ideas for protagonists and inspires many of my stories (and breaks my heart on an almost nightly basis).

I saw myself, and so many women of my generation, trying to...[read on]
Visit Megan Mayhew Bergman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue