Avra Margariti makes her Asimov’s debut in our January/February issue with the poem “When I’m Thirty I Receive a Box Full of Your Steel Bones” [on sale now]! She took the time to chat with us about the poem’s origins, her projects in progress, defeating writers’ block, and the link between her writing and her future social work career.
Asimov’s Editor: What is the story behind this piece?
AM: I’m a big fan of stories that examine the emotional depths robots can reach. Whether those depths are genuine or perceived and interpreted through manmade lenses, I think the humans’ reactions and behavior toward robots are very telling. In my poem, the way my characters treat robots is only an extension of the way they treat each other.
AE: Is this story part of a larger universe, or is it stand-alone?
AM: Although a stand-alone, I suppose my poem could be described as a spiritual successor. In the past, I’ve written poems and stories about robots going grape-stomping, engaging with art, experiencing conflicting emotions about their creators, etc.
AE: How did the title for this piece come to you?
AM: My poem is a study of childhood, and the heartfelt naivety that often comes with it. The title, on the other hand, is the adult’s reality, a painful understanding, a second act hinted at but left unexplored.
AE: What is your history with Asimov’s?
AM: My poem “When I’m Thirty I Receive a Box Full of Your Steel Bones” is my first ever piece published with Asimov’s.
AE: How much or little do current events impact your writing?
AM: I don’t directly name current events most of the time, but I am definitely influenced by them when coming up with plots and characters. I like to fictionalize historic events as well, change the details while still keeping said events recognizable.
The two cornerstones of my future profession are social justice and social change. I want my fictional work to promote and embody those ideals.
AE: How do you deal with writers’ block?
AM: I usually choose a different medium of expression. Unfortunately, I’m not an artist, but I like to photo-edit mock covers for my stories, make moodboards for my characters, or create playlists. Watching a movie or TV show also helps me get out of a writing slump.
AE: What other projects are you currently working on?
AM: I’m editing a collection of speculative love poems inspired by several patchwork aesthetics. My collection is an homage to curiosity cabinets, medieval bestiaries, circus sideshows, anatomical theaters, haunted houses, and black holes. I’m also in the process of revising my magical realism/alternate queer history novella-in-flash, about a troupe of nomadic clowns and their physics-defying king.
AE: What SFnal prediction would you like to see come true?
AM: Is reversing climate change and making the Earth greener too much to ask for?
AE: What are you reading right now?
AM: I’m mostly catching up on all those amazing SFFH short stories released in 2020. Sadly, I haven’t read as much as I would have liked this year, so I’ve missed a lot of creative and innovative work published by my fellow speculative authors.
AE: What other careers have you had, and how have they affected your writing?
AM: I’m currently studying to become a social worker. The two cornerstones of my future profession are social justice and social change. I want my fictional work to promote and embody those ideals.
AE: How can our readers follow you and your writing?
AM: I sometimes tweet @avramargariti.