Author spotlights are occasional Q&As with contributors. Evergreen Lee’s short story, “Up a Tree” can be found in Issue 1.
Departure Mirror: Tell us a little about your Departure Mirror story.
Evergreen Lee: “Up a Tree” was written for a Codex contest that involves writing a flash story in a short length of time based on particular prompts. The prompt I used was a picture of a cat in front of a puddle of water with a cloth draped around it. It made me think of a person who had just changed into a cat and was checking their appearance. The MC going to check on her neighbors was inspired by the loneliness many have experienced during Covid, and also worrying about those who live alone with no one to even make sure that they’re still alive. The original version had several Covid-19-specific references, but these were later removed for pacing reasons. The other main inspiration was my inclination towards stories where characters overlook or overcome the prejudices that they are expected to have and/or have grown up with.
DM: How did you become a writer?
EL: I decided I wanted to be a writer in 1st grade, but abandoned the dream in high school for complicated reasons. I never quit writing, however, and when I attended DragonCon for the first time, in 2011, I quickly gravitated towards their Writer’s Track programming. Through that, I realized that being a professional writer was something I could still pursue. Shortly after, I searched for and found local writing groups, most notably the Celebration Writers (led at that time by Jan Eldritch) and the Shredders critique group led by Elle E. Ire. By participating in those groups, I learned skills for writing, revising, and submitting. We also had Rejected meetings, led by José Iriarte, which helped to motivate me to submit my work and taught me to treat rejections as successes rather than failures.
DM: What else are you passionate about? Tell us about it.
EL: I love color. In 10th grade I learned to tie-dye in my chemistry class (best teacher ever!), and I’ve never looked back. My goal is to have every item of fabric in my house tie-dyed (with the exception of some clothing that my husband refuses to let me alter). I’m easy to spot at conferences because I wear so much tie-dye. I also love karaoke and gaming (my current favorite video game is Frostpunk and favorite board game is Agricola). I passionately believe everyone should embrace the things they love and not worry about whether or not snobby people will look down on them for not being “cool” or “normal.” “The Definitions of Professional Attire” is a very literal metaphor for discrimination I encountered in a workplace and how I responded to it.
DM: Do you have anything you’d like to promote?
EL: I have a story coming out in early 2021 in The Wild Hunt anthology by Air and Nothingness Press. My story features a mouse and I think it is super cute. My other published stories can be found on my website, along with my very neglected blog. I’m also the Treasurer for Dream Foundry, which is a non-profit aimed at helping speculative writers and artists. Our second virtual convention, Flights of Foundry 2021, will be April 16-18 and we also have a discord active year-round.
Thank you, Evergreen! Once again, “Up a Tree” can be found in the Fall 2020 issue of Departure Mirror Quarterly. The issue is free to download and to read. If you love the story as much as we do, please tell your friends!