“Origin Story” by Kelly Link
April 15, 2020
Kelly Link's "Origin Story" appeared in the first issue of A Public Space, which also included work from Anna Deavere Smith and an early story from 2019 National Book Award finalist Yoko Ogawa.
A story of two friends, Bunnatine and Biscuit, "Origin Story" takes place at an abandoned theme park, the Land of Oz—in a world of parallel universes and superhero origin stories; nemeses and levitating waitresses and tabloid reporters. “I always think it looks a lot more real now,” Biscuit says. “The way it’s falling all to pieces. The way the Yellow Brick Road is disappearing. It makes it feel like Oz was a real place. Being abandoned makes you more real, you know?”
Kelly Link is the author of four books, most recently the story collection Get in Trouble; and a 2019 MacArthur Fellow. With her husband, Gavin Grant, she runs Small Beer Press and the bookstore Book Moon.
“Dorothy Gale,” she said.
“I guess so.” He said it grudgingly. Maybe he wished that he’d thought of it first. Maybe he didn’t think going home again was all that heroic.
They were sitting on the side of a mountain. Above them, visitors to the Land of Oz theme park had once sailed, in molded plastic gondola balloons, over the Yellow Brick Road. Some of the support pylons tilted or tipped back against scrawny little opportunistic pines. There was something majestic about the felled pylons now that their work was done. They looked like fallen giants. Moth-eaten blue ferns grew over the peeling yellow bricks.
"Once I thought that one could only write about things one adequately understood. But I do not wish to submit myself entirely to this assumption, as it becomes a definite way to silence myself. Why not give myself permission, instead?"
December 22, 2023 by Ruby Wang