Tiff Holland’s Comments

“Two Handed” was inspired by an experience in high school. I graduated a year early by taking my junior and senior years simultaneously. That meant eating with the seniors, most of whom I didn’t know. At lunch, I sat with a group who played cards every day. I purposely tried not to pay attention to how the game was played to see if I would pick it up by osmosis. This story was inspired by that experience.

“Percale” and “Cracker Jack” were inspired by my recent stroke. “Percale” concerns the stroke itself and the memory loss afterwards. It wasn’t until almost a month after my stroke that I realized my favorite sheet was missing. As for “Cracker Jack,” I just assumed my daughter would love the snack as I did—but then I grew up before Happy Meals. She did, however, like the “prize” which folded and unfolded to reveal the faces and partial faces of presidents. This prize was very much like my vision immediately after the stroke and inspired me to write the piece.

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