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Lifting Up the Log #8: Treachery by MJ Malleck

Editor's note: This story first caught my attention once I realized it was being told from the point of view of a premature baby. And you might think, but surely it's not really from the point of view of a premature baby? Surely it's more retrospective than that? And to that I would say, the use of present tense dissuades any thoughts of retrospection - we are in it, we are there, in that kitchen, watching it all happen through a baby's eyes, and of course, babies are so smart and so perceptive and know far more than we could ever even realize. This story is heartbreaking, but not in a sensationalized way. Rather, this story is tragic in it's ordinariness, in how the problems being dealt with are problems that so many people were dealing with, back then, in the 1960s, and right now, today. And thank goodness for the small and quiet kindnesses of the Aunt Betty's and Uncle Eddy's of this world. Thank goodness for banana bread and pot roast and salt to lay over an icy sidewalk. More than anything, this story reminds me of the effectiveness of care, even if your care can't go as far as you may want it to, and also of the magic of the minute details. Keep reading to hear from MJ about the process of writing it.


  1. How did you come up with the title? I was thinking about an unreliable narrator and all the stories I tell my kids about when they were babies. And what I heard too. And how babies are privy to so much because everyone thinks they won’t remember. And thinking about the baby Stewie from The Family Guy.

  2. What can you tell us about the inception of this piece? It was from a prompt in a workshop. If you could change one thing. I imagined changing everything at the start of a life.

  3. If we could lift up the log of this piece, what would we see there?  Admitting the story was fiction allowed me to feel the feelings. Use a more confident voice. And gave me the title.

  4. If this piece were a small forest creature, what kind of small forest creature would it be? Why? Fisher. In Ontario used to be expensive fur. Brave enough to attack porcupines head on.



Read "Treachery" in its entirety here.





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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