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Lifting Up the Log #2: "Mapping beneath" by Rebecca Dempsey

Editor's note: The act of receiving Rebecca's responses to the following questions was, to borrow a line from the original poem, an act of "satiating gaps in understanding." I have always loved the mystery inherent in poetry, and unabashabedly have made a habit of loving poems that I might not fully understand. And that is what happened, to some extent, with "Mapping beneath" - I was enamored by the language of it, and it's perfect last line, even while not fully comprehending all that it had to say. That is why I am so thankful for this series, and the way it is an excuse for me to ask writers to shed a bit more light on their words, to make the mysteries come into the light, to enrich our overall experience of their work.

  1. How did you come up with the title? The title (and poem) was inspired by a satellite image of tunnels of the Nullarbor Plain in Australia.

  2. What can you tell us about the inception of this piece? I saw this image of wombat tunnels and posted it as my Facebook profile pic. People speculated on what this image looked like, and there was enough in the comments to get me thinking. So, this work began with other people's words, which is not my usual practice.

  3. If we could lift up the log of this piece, what would we see there? There were several completed versions and several lost ones as the document I was using on my phone didn't save at all. I managed to remember most of what I'd written but the doc failed to save again and I returned to using email drafts, before saving it permanently. I feel like the first lost version had something I couldn't quite recapture, I suppose this is a Xanadu Effect - the lost piece is always better than what you have. As for theme, the image was of tunnels and descriptions it inspired were about celestial phenomena. I loved the juxtaposition, how people saw a star field in a visual representation of a secret underworld.

  4. If this piece were a small forest creature, what kind of small forest creature would it be? Well, of course the answer is the wombat! Although wombats aren't very small and live in a variety of habitats, including forested places and regions with no trees at all.

  5. Is there anything else you would love for readers to know about this piece? I'm so glad it found a home here.


Are you a previous or future contributor to Gastropoda and want to lift up the log on the piece you published with us? Complete the form below:

Lifting Up the Log is an ongoing series designed to indulge our love for the story behind the story, as well as to give our beloved contributors an additional way to showcase the writing they have shared here.

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