IF MY BOOK: How Far I’ve Come, Kim Magowan

Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors compare their recently released books to weird things. This week Kim Magowan writes about her new story collection, How Far I’ve Come, out now from Gold Wake Press.


If How Far I’ve Come were an insect, she would be a yellow jacket; she’d have the capacity to sting without disemboweling herself.

If How Far I’ve Come were an origami shape, she would be an open box.

If How Far I’ve Come were a color, she would be the blue center of a flame.

If How Far I’ve Come were a letter in the alphabet, she would be Y, because of its forked shape, because of its flexibility (the only letter that is both consonant and vowel), and because of its sound (why).

If How Far I’ve Come were a glass animal, she would be a piglet.

If How Far I’ve Come were an object from a fairy tale, she would be the red-hot slippers in which the evil stepmother is forced to dance.

If How Far I’ve Come were a pair of glasses, she would constantly get lost.

If How Far I’ve Come were a literary villain, she would be Frankenstein’s abandoned creature: lonely, desperate, and prone to violent fits of temper.

If How Far I’ve Come were chocolate, she would be 90% dark and chili-flavored.

If How Far I’ve Come were hosting a dinner party, she would buy too much wine and burn the lemon chicken.

If How Far I’ve Come were an item of clothing, she would be a worn velvet jacket that you find in a thrift store, with weird shoulder pads that you plan to snip out. And when you put your hand in her pocket, you will find a piece of paper, folded up many times, that says, in terrible handwriting, “Call [indecipherable name].”

If How Far I’ve Come were a number, she would be a prime.

If How Far I’ve Come were a cat, she would instinctively bother (wind around the legs of, try and sit in the lap of) people who don’t like cats.

If How Far I’ve Come were a hand, she would be “warm and capable/ Of earnest grasping.”

If How Far I’ve Come had a magical skill, it would be alchemy, but she’d be defective at it: instead of turning straw into gold, she would turn straw into tangled hair.

If How Far I’ve Come were a vegetable, she would be an artichoke.

If How Far I’ve Come were a home, she would be a bird’s nest, and peculiar objects would be part of her composition (for instance the paper wrapper of a straw).

If How Far I’ve Come were a precious jewel, she would be a pearl: formed through a process of irritation and self-protection.

If How Far I’ve Come were a word, she would be RADAR (attuned to detection, and palindromic).

If How Far I’ve Come were a weapon in Clue, she would be the candlestick. (It takes a certain kind of person, nefarious or disorganized or impulsive, to see a candlestick as a weapon).

If How Far I’ve Come were a riddle, you’d forget the answer.


Kim Magowan lives in San Francisco and teaches in the Department of Literatures and Languages at Mills College. She is the author of the short story collection How Far I’ve Come, forthcoming in 2022 from Gold Wake Press; the novel The Light Source (2019), published by 7.13 Books; and the short story collection Undoing (2018), which won the 2017 Moon City Press Fiction Award. Her fiction has been published in Booth, Colorado Review, Craft Literary, The Gettysburg Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, and many other journals. Her stories have been selected for Best Small Fictions and Wigleaf’s Top 50. She is the Editor-in-Chief and Fiction Editor of Pithead Chapelwww.kimmagowan.com, @kimmagowan

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