I was reading Harlan Ellison’s collection, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, and, when I reached the beginning of “Lonely Ache” and read the first sentence: “The Form of the Habit she had become still drove him to one side of the bed.” the idea of “Indifference” flowed into my head. I put the book down, went to my desk, and started writing.
“Indifference” references an unpleasant period of my life that had occurred a few months earlier. A relationship had ended (badly, of course); and assorted feelings combined with physical displacement (a move from Manhattan to Western Massachusetts) manifested into the story. The character Brown’s helplessness echoed what I had felt. Brown’s puzzlement over the coriander came from my own experience. But the head…like the solidified clouds in “Valley of the Falling Clouds,” the head appeared to me fully-formed, from whatever neighborhood of the subconscious holds such things.
I moved from Austin, Texas to New York City in January 1995; that winter was relatively mild, but the next year there was a major snowstorm that shut down the city for a day. I didn’t have to go to work, and went out walking. I needed to mail a package (probably a short story submission), and walked nine blocks to the post office on Canal Street, which turned out to be closed. It was eerie seeing the city so calm and white and still. In a nod to another of my stories, when Brown goes out into the snow-drenched streets, he witnesses the scene at the end of “Suspension.”
The story was published in the debut issue of a ’zine called Full Unit Hookup.