Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors shed light on their recently released books by comparing them to weird things. This week Siân Griffiths writes about The Heart Keeps Faulty Time, her new story collection out from Bull City Press.
If The Heart Keeps Faulty Time were your obnoxious teenaged daughter, she’d say, “Just call me Heart,” and she’d glower just a little as she said it to remind you that she knew exactly who stuck her with it, who weighed the choices and came up with this long-assed monster when you could have just named her after something monosyllabic and cool as a rock band—though, when pressed, she might admit that the name fits her well, snug as those low-riding jeans she insists on. When she rolls her eyes at you, it’s not totally in exasperation. Maybe there’s a tinge of that, a scooch of the world weariness particular to obnoxious teenaged daughters, but only because she’s recently grown skeptical of sincerity and is frightened by the love she feels. She’s at that age where she mistakes earnestness for weakness, where she feels the many ways the world can pierce her thin shell, and she’s mad at herself for feeling so honestly and unironically. She tells a joke or two to deflect from this perceived Achilles heel. She shields herself in sarcasm, just as you did when you were an obnoxious teenaged daughter. Recently, she adopted an all-black wardrobe and has decided to scowl her way through the world so that it recognizes her as a poet, a person who feels darkly and deeply, but she keeps forgetting to frown each time she meets even the most casual acquaintance. She smiles instead, laughs. Having grown up with love, she has begun to wonder whether she should continue to trust it, but has also begun to suspect that love is the only thing worth trusting, even knowing it will let her down, just like you have let her down, just as parents always do. Her glare through newly adopted black eye-liner reveals all of this. You read the vulnerability in her eyes. She knows her heart is too open. She knows that this, really, is why it is faulty. Even so, she removes it, holds it in her palm, and, against her better judgement, offers it out.
Siân Griffiths lives in Ogden, Utah, where she directs the graduate program in English at Weber State University. Her work has appeared in The Georgia Review, Cincinnati Review, American Short Fiction, Ninth Letter, Indiana Review, The Rumpus, among other publications. Her debut novel, Borrowed Horses (New Rivers Press, 2013), was a semi-finalist for the 2014 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. Her most recent book is The Heart Keeps Faulty Time (Bull City Press, 2020). Currently, she reads fiction as part of the editorial team at Barrelhouse.