Heather Fowler on The Reading Life. (This link includes a very wide ranging Q and A session, a post by Heather Fowler on short stories and two of her stories, which she kindly allowed me to publish)
"People With Holes" is the title and lead story in Heather Fowler's 2012 collection of short stories by that name. Getting down to the basics, my first thought was along the lines of "well doesn't that include everybody?" In the tradition of magic realism, lots of people are showing up with unexpected holes in their bodies, not wounds just clean holes that suddenly appear. In this story, centering on a couple, the woman develops a hole in the elbow region.
It turns out there are support groups for people with holes, just like there are for alcoholics. In a very well developed and fun scene, the man accompanies the woman to her first support group meeting. The first step is to admit you have a hole, to learn you are not alone in this. There are several ways to take "People With Holes". It might be seen as kind of a satirical commentary on help groups, on a society where physical imperfections are not openly acknowledged, or just take it as in part good natured fun at all the different holes people develop. Maybe if we wanted to we could say the story is lightly telling us don't mock the holes in others until you fully see your own.
There are a lot of short stories in the four collections Heather Fowler has so far published. (I believe another one is coming soon.) In time I hope to read and post on them all, assuming I can keep up with this marvelously prolific author. I am also reading through the 85 short stories of the great Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector and when I finish these projects, or get further on, I will as a kind of personal test case talk about Fowler and Lispector in parallel. A big difference is Lispector's literary race has been run where I think and hope Fowler's is just starting.
Heather Fowler is the author of the story collections Elegantly Naked In My Sexy Mental Illness; This Time, While We're Awake; People with Holes; and Suspended Heart. Fowler’s work was named a 2012 finalist for Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award in Short Fiction. She received her M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Hollins University. Her stories and poems have appeared in:PANK, Night Train, storyglossia, Surreal South,Feminist Studies, The Nervous Breakdown, and others. Her website:www.heatherfowlerwrites.com is very well done and has all the latest information on her work.