This June we are thrilled to produce “Bees,” a short piece by local writer Betsy Miller.
Betsy writes fiction that spans several genres including magical realism, literary, and speculative. Her stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies. Miller is a technical writer who also writes non-fiction books. She is the author of The Parents’ Guide to Perthes, The Parents’ Guide to Clubfoot, and The Parents’ Guide to Hip Dysplasia.
“Bees” was previously published in Obsession Literary Journal. If you’d like to read more of Betsy’s fiction, you can find “The Now” in the Doorways to Extra Time anthology and “Mixology” in Year’s End: 14 Tales of Holiday Horror. Betsy sometimes reads her fiction at Flash Fiction Forum events.
Betsy Miller is one of the co-founders of Thinking Ink Press, a small independent press. She is currently working on a children’s picture book, Brooklynn Bunny’s Super Boots, and on a young adult novel called Dance, Interrupted.
What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?
I was at a Flash Fiction Forum event when Julia announced the call for submissions for Play On Words. Play On Words is a cool idea, so I decided to submit a story. I thought “Bees” might be a good fit because it would not need a large cast or require a lot of props. I’m happy my story was selected and excited to see it performed.
Which writers or performers inspire you?
I get inspired all the time by the interesting and wonderful things that people come up with. I was at the Cupertino Library the other day. On the used books sale shelf in the lobby, I came across a children’s book called The Skull of Truth. I bought it on impulse (yes, I still read children’s books for entertainment, don’t judge me). This book turned out to be a magical adventure about a sixth grade boy who grapples with the many facets of truth—absolute truth, metaphorical truth (fiction that reveals a deep truth), and perceived truth. But it also works as an adventure story. That’s a book that transcends its genre. I would love to write fiction that strong.
Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.
Since my story “Bees” is written from the perspective of an adolescent, I’ll mention the book A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I discovered this book when I was 13 or 14, which would have been in the mid 1970’s. Meg, the 14-year-old main character in A Wrinkle in Time, seemed like she could be a real girl. And she was in a science fiction book—a really good science fiction book! And she was smart, but awkward, and her family felt like a viable family, and—well, let’s just say I had read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, but this was the first book I found in that genre that was written from the point of view of a teenage girl. I’m still fond of that book.