by Ellen B. Wright
Sara Saab, author of A Trail of Demure Virgins, came wailing into the world at Al Najjar Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon, in the winter of 1984. The prime witnesses each recall a single stand-out feature of the event: her mother, the musk of hard liquor on the skin of the attending obstetrician, and her father, the worrying Klingon dent scoring the tiny nose of the ruddy and slick infant. This crease soon disappeared, but little Sara didn’t. Nowadays Sara works too hard and — embarrassingly — aches too much in the heart whenever confronted by rock anthems or perfect sentences. Every explanation for her actions can ultimately be traced back to her unruly fern of a hairstyle.
Sara has had / has / will have work in Electric Velocipede, the Vignette Press‘s The Death Mook, Word Riot, and a selection of fine campus literary journals and zines.
Tell me a little about “A Trail of Demure Virgins.” What was the first image or phrase or impetus that made you sit down and spin it out?
The story was written in a few drafts but the original impetus was very strong: on family roadtrips in the mountains of Lebanon, I was always struck by the Virgin Mary shrines left by the roadside. They’re all over the place, but as far as I can tell, never signposted. Who puts them there? Who brings the fresh flowers and incense? And why? The most recent explanation I’ve heard is that they mark the sites of fatal car crashes, but I have yet to close the case…
Without giving too much away, the very end of the story came to me word for word as this suspended image of irony and chaos.
Where do you get your ideas?
I trap them on glue pads. The little rotters squirm worse than mice and the ones that’ve gotten particularly grotesque and mangled trying to make an escape — those ones turn into the best stories by far