By L.S. Johnson (https://traversingz.com/)
G. O. Clark is the author of 13 books of poetry (the most recent is The Comfort of Screams) and two short story collections. “The Twins” was included in his most recent short story collection Twists & Turns, published in 2016 by Alban Lake Publishing. He’s retired and lives in Davis, California.
Tell us a little about your story, “The Twins.”
“The Twins” started out as a poem, which I never completed. After setting it aside for a while, I went back to it and found it might work better as a short story.
I published a book of zombie poems in 2013, Scenes Along The Zombie Highway, in which many of the poems were about individual zombies, i.e., baseball player, ventriloquist, writer, etc. The “twins” poem, if completed, would have been included.
The idea was to put a human face(s) on those who had joined the walking dead. The “twins” were abandoned in the country by their parents, who couldn’t bear to kill them, when the zombie apocalypse was still in its earliest stages. Enter the old farm couple with their unfulfilled longing for kids, and the story more or less wrote itself.
While the setting of “The Twins” is grounded in modernity, the shape of the story feels almost like a fairytale. Was that a deliberate choice on your part?
I suppose there may be some fairytale elements within it, but they were not consciously added by me. A lot of the current zombie TV shows, movies, stories, etc. portray zombies as nothing more than rotting-meat targets, ignoring the fact they were once human just like everyone else. Of course, as in most of the current portrayals, you have to aim for the head in the end, or join their ranks.
What is your relationship to California?
I set the story in Missouri, Kansas and the neighboring north Texas area to literally give the characters room to roam. I don’t think it would have worked in the regions of California where I’ve lived, and now reside: San Jose and the Sacramento area, respectively. I moved to San Jose in 1959 from Massachusetts, and lived there for 25 years, before moving with my ex-wife and son to Davis, where I now reside in snug, mobile home retirement.
As writers, we constantly use our imaginations, sometimes in terrifying ways. But can you imagine a hopeful future for California? What might that future look like?
I think California, as it has been for years, is always on the cutting edge as a general rule. Silicon Valley is the most obvious example. I hope it will continue to be so long after I’m gone. The future is my 36-year-old son’s now, who lives in Los Angeles, smartphone clutched in his hand.
Where can readers find more of your work?
*NEXT POST ON MONDAY 9/02/19, SCARY STORIES FOR A GOOD CAUSE: Chad Schimke on “Vivified”