Gabriela Denise Frank is the author of CivitaVeritas: An Italian Fellowship Journey, a collection of essays and prose poetry. In 2014, her Pushcart Prize-nominated story, “Pas de Deux,” was published in Behind the Yellow Wallpaper: New Tales of Madness. Her work is supported by the Northwest Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in Italy (NIAUSI), 4Culture and Jack Straw. www.gabrieladenisefrank.com
Gabriela, in “Into the Light,” a story from your collection in the works, Lou can’t shake past memories of her abusive father. It’s holding her back in her relationship with Sam, an all-around good guy and self-defense instructor who’s taught her how to fight back against attackers, men like her father. What she’s learned becomes invaluable when things come of a boil with her neighbor, Nils. Would you say the story’s climactic encounter is a figurative and nearly literal representation of Lou coming to grips with her closeted past?
It’s both figurative and literal, and also karmic. As humans, we get caught in traps of our own making, oftentimes the very snares that we were hoping to avoid. I think that’s because we’re attracted to patterns. Patterns can keep us alive –we learn to identify and avoid dangerous situations like dark alleys, for instance– but certain relationship dynamics can become so inborn that they inhibit our growth, if we’re not very evolved. When we are unaware as to how patterns play out in our lives, or even that they are there at all, we live at their mercy.