If you haven’t heard of my new project, the On Fire anthology over at Transmundane Press, this mini-interview and excerpt series will showcase the amazing authors I get to work with and their writing. Meet Jaclyn Adomeit.
What motivates you to write?
Sheer will. The process of sitting down and typing the first couple words takes all my resolve, but as soon as I’m 100 words in, I’m loving every moment of it.
What do you find to be the easiest thing about writing? What is the hardest?
The best and worst thing is a first draft: the process of spilling out words onto a page and knowing I have all the power to change it and re-write it. Something that is new and visceral. The hardest part is talking about my work, particularly novels. When someone asks me what the novel I am writing is about, I start with the plot and somehow end up giving them a detailed summary of how tractors we distributed in the Soviet Union.
What interesting thing did you learn while writing your last story?
I’ve been doing research on the eastern front of WW2 for a historical fiction piece about teenagers coming of age during the war. There are so many small facts that I’ve found about these unknown (and horrific) things that happened in the war. I’m particularly interested in this group of women called the Brown Sisters. They were a group of nuns loyal to Hitler. They would sneak into Polish villages, steal young children that looked Aryan, and bring them back to Germany to be adopted by wealthy German families. There were thousands of children that were never returned to their Polish families after the war. Thousands of children who never found out that they were adopted. Many of these people are still alive in Germany not knowing that they could have full biological siblings living in across the border Lodz or Wloclawek. All of the small, terrible tales from war are something I could write endlessly about.
From “Red Curtain” by Jaclyn Adomeit
Before the Red Curtain fell, I watched dubbed Chinese cartoons on the old flat screen. We played rock-paper-scissors to see who would ride the bike to get the batteries charged up. Mags’s kid, Arlo, was too young to play, and Mags—even though she was eight years older than me—nearly always chose rock. Dad pitied her. He rode the bike for a whole hour, so we could see thirty-minutes of colour behind the glass. We spouted off Chinese phrases we heard in the cartoons: nǐ hǎo ma and bú kè qì, squawking on endless repeat.
As Dad would pedal, he’d say that he didn’t mind when the lights went down, so did all the cameras.
One cartoon was about Chinese teenagers with spiky, neon hair who travelled to different places in China, explored caves, and saved panda bears with glimmering gadgets. They drank rainforest-safe soda, and the ads featured anti-viral fruit snacks and cruelty-free dolphin jerky.
This one episode, the Chinese kids visited America and toured the rubble-strewn base that was once the Statue of Liberty. They saved school children from the unsafe rides at Disneyland. They climbed the Grand Canyon and met an obese, ruddy-faced family. The Americans marveled at the Chinese kids’ technical gadgets and sleek hair and didn’t bother with the geological beauty.
In my years walking across the country, I’ve seen hundreds of abandoned tanks and crashed fighter jets with the Chinese flag painted on their sides. In Texas, I passed a field marked with intermittent craters and cow carcasses. Land mines last a long time.
The cartoons didn’t show any of that. Not one blown-up road or debris-cluttered runway. The colours on the screen still flash on my eyelids in the dead of night. Not really shapes, but teal and red and blinding pink. Not that I’ll get any sleep tonight. When I look into the fire, I can see them.
Jaclyn Adomeit lives and writes in Calgary, Canada. In her spare time, she dances to old records in the kitchen, befriends stray cats, and attempts to rival her grandmother’s cooking skills. Her fiction has previously appeared in magazines and anthologies including Armchair/Shotgun and After the Happily Ever After. She is currently at work on her first novel.