Issue 043 Author Interview: Amy Porter and “Giant Beach”

Tuesday again? No problem, especially when there’s a new Issue 043 author interview! Today we talk with Amy Porter about her otherworldly story “Giant Beach“.

LSQ: Your character, who has ALS, feels a strange connection to a giant’s eyeball. How much of his obsession came from the psychological aspects of his progressing disease?

Amy: I would say a good deal of it. There is a sort of connection between his breaking body and the shattered fragments that litter the shore. He sympathizes with the thought of the giant species’ slow decline into extinction, as that is what he is currently experiencing in his own life. The eye, on the other hand, is unbroken, and soulful. I think he might be obsessed with it because, to him, it’s a sign that something remains after life is gone.

LSQ: The landscape of your story is so unique. Washed up on the shore of Iceland: giant toes, pieces of brain, and yes, a giant eyeball. Is any of this inspired by mythology, or just your vivid imagination?

Amy: I read a lot of mythology growing up, so while I can’t say that it directly inspired the way this story unfolded, it certainly shaped how I view story and the way I tell things to myself.

The landscape was inspired by a very real beach in Iceland called “Diamond Beach”, where shards of glacier routinely wash up. When I sat down to write this piece, what immediately spilled out was the first line about a seashore. Since I had no clue what to do with that, I had to find some real-life prompters. I started looking through different oceanfront settings, and as soon as I saw the pictures of black sand and blue ice, I knew that’s what I needed. It felt like a gift, as did the idea that these glacial fragments were parts of an extinct colossus.
LSQ: Your MC enters into the eye three times, each time being shown something wondrous. Is there a significance to what he sees each time? Tell us about the tears.
Amy: The progression of images could be connected with the feeling of futility and insignificance that the MC has at the beginning. Life blossoms, and it dies, and the eye (which could maybe be interpreted as God or Nature), has seen it all. The third image, I think, is the most important, because he is able to view himself as both seen and loved by this omniscient thing. It is an answer to his conviction of his own smallness earlier in the piece. There is more to the eye’s seeing than just observation; there is passion as well, and grief, hence the tears. Plus, where there’s saltwater and an eyeball in the same place, there’s got to be tears.
LSQ: What is your favorite kind of genre to write? Is there anything you are writing currently?

Amy: I really like to write whatever occurs to me in the moment. However, if I was forced to pick, my favorite genre would be science fiction. I feel that its rules are the most flexible, and leave the most room to play, besides which every other genre can fit inside it. From fantasy adventure, to historical drama, to romance, everything can be written through a science fiction lens, which I find incredibly exciting.

I’ve got a few projects in my workshop at the moment. I have a couple of short stories I’m attempting to finish up, and one novel I’m almost at the halfway point for.