An absorbing, novelistic story exploring the rough lives and strong emotions of textile workers in nineteenth century New England, "Blue Cotton" takes readers on a journey to another time and place and, perhaps most importantly, into the complex mind of its troubled protagonist.
Lindsey Thordarson received her MFA from St. Mary’s College of California. Her work has appeared in many print and online journals, including ZYZZYVA and California Northern Magazine, and received the 2010 Doug Fir Fiction Award. She lives in Petaluma, California.
To read "Blue Cotton" click here
TCR Story of the Month highlights an outstanding work of fiction published online within the preceding twelve months.
TCR Talks with Author Lindsey Thordarson
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: For as long as I can remember. When I was little I would carry stacks of books around with me—even on five minute trips to the grocery store—and that obsession with reading easily grew into a love of writing. I wrote stories and poems throughout high school and college, but it wasn’t until I attended an MFA program three years ago that writing and publishing fiction became more than just a dream job but something I was actually doing. Now I’m in the middle of revising a first novel, which is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done—and one of the most rewarding.
Q: Where did you get the idea for "Blue Cotton?"
A: I was driving home late at night from a job that made me feel very much like a cog in a large and indifferent machine, and knew I wanted to write a story that captured that feeling of exhaustion and tedium. Not long after while traveling in New Hampshire I passed Manchester’s old cotton mills, and from there the story’s setting and characters began to develop more explicitly. I was intrigued by the idea of what an older woman, disappointed by life, might project onto a young girl just arrived at a terrible factory job, and how her initial impressions might crumble over the course of a workday.
Q: Who are some of your favorite classic authors?
A: If he can be considered a classic author, Wallace Stegner—Angle of Repose is one of my absolute favorite books. I love the modernists, especially Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein, for making me see the world differently. Charles Brockden Brown's work is also pretty wild.
Q: Who are some of your favorite contemporary authors?
A: Andrea Barrett, for her exquisite historical fiction. Jim Shepard, for his incredible range and mastery of the short story. Annie Proulx, for her gut-wrenching sentences. Novels that have surprised and moved me in the past year also include Amanda Coplin’s The Orchardist and Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son.
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