Originally published in Willow Springs 77

From the author

Notes on “Schematic”

“Schematic” began as a short screenplay written for a class during my first year of college. I attended college in my hometown, so at the time, I was still living at my parents’ house. My dad had a collection of vintage pinball machines in the basement that I would go home and play whenever school got to be too stressful (like, if a boy talked to me, or if someone complimented my shoes). Other times, I would walk in the front door and hear my dad playing, the chimes of the game coming up through the floorboards. It’s an old house, so it was always a kind of haunting experience. At one point, the lights on one of the games weren’t functioning properly and my dad went around studying the schematic like a crazy person, trying to figure out how to fix it.

Last year, when I decided to rewrite “Schematic” as a short story, I was surprised to find that the words were already there. I didn’t have to think about it at all – they just came out of my pen. As someone who likes to ponder and revise, I was extremely suspicious of this process and put the story away for a while, just in case I was having some kind of lapse in judgement. But I was still happy with it when I looked at it later, so I sent it out. I wish this would happen again, but it would probably require black magic.


Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.

I still listen to the same music that I did when I was thirteen: Radiohead, Oingo Boingo, David Bowie, Captain Beefheart—with the exception of Daft Punk, which I found later and, for two years now, has overtaken my life. It’s not that I haven’t found anything better, it’s just that I can’t stop listening long enough to search. My children are just as bad. Right now, they are obsessed with The Velvet Underground. The four-year-old likes the way Lou Reed sings, “I can’t stand it anymore,” —“ I key-Ant stand it any Mo-Ah Mo-Ah!” The two-year-old is fascinated by lines like, “Caught his hand in the door/ Dropped his teeth on the floor.” I understand this totally. Music was my introduction to the strangeness of words. I remember being five, trying to find out what the hell the lyrics to Bowie’s Life on Mars were about. I’m pretty sure that I became a writer just to take back some of the power those lyrics (and others) had over me.

Booze: I used to write for a wine and spirits magazine. People expect me to know what to order at a bar, but I don’t. I still don’t know what to order.

I have one tattoo. I want another. The problem is that I can’t decide if I actually want one, or just want the experience of getting one. It is a very succinct kind of pain—wholly satisfying. I would get a Jean de Bosschere illustration on the inside of my arm—the one where the guy with the tall hat is sawing the leg off a giant horse. It would be so cool.


About Genevieve Plunkett

FullSizeRenderGenevieve Plunkett lives in Vermont with her husband and two young children.

See more from her online at the New England Reviewhere and here— and Mud Season Reviewhere and here.