Issue 35, Final Fringe

Emily Sandberg Discusses "Spoon"

by Fringe Magazine 11.14.2011

This week we’re pleased to offer Spoon, inventive new flash fiction from Emily Sandberg. Below, Emily talks about the story’s inception, her mother’s reaction, and what is lost as spoon-pens become a thing of the past.

I don’t know who first came up with the idea of taping a piece of plastic cutlery to a pen, but I suppose I should thank him or her or them—if it was a group effort—for making this story possible. It’s such a great low-tech solution that I spent longer than I’m willing to admit wondering what else it could be applied to; what else might someone not want to part with?

A plastic spoon taped to a pen may soon become a thing of the past. They now have those machines at many check-outs where you sign on a screen with a stylus. I don’t like those machines. Too often the screen is scratched or not as responsive as paper is to pen so that my name doesn’t look right when I sign it but instead looks misspelled or as if someone else wrote it, which is disturbing since my name is the one thing I can always, or at least usually, count on getting right the first time. I’m not looking forward to when the last spoon-pen inevitably gets replaced by more sophisticated technology; I know I’ll get over it and be able to move on with my life, but for now I’m just glad they still exist in some places.

I let my mother read “Spoon” not so long ago. A few weeks later I received a package from her in the mail; inside was a pen with a plastic spoon taped to it that she said she’d found at a butcher shop in my hometown; she knew I’d appreciate it as soon as she saw it and had slipped it into her purse when no one was looking, which is sort of funny, though maybe only because it wasn’t my pen that got stolen.

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Fringe: it’s the noun that verbs your world, and the magazine you’re reading. We publish work that is political or experimental in form or content and define both “political” and “experimental” broadly. “Political” can mean work that incorporates or comments on current events or it can mean literature and art that further personal dignity and advocate human rights. We regard “experimental” work as work that breaks with the canon, takes formal risks, or explores a strange or impossible point of view.

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