Interview With Sarah Nichols (Poet & Author Of She May Be a Saint, Hermeneutic Chaos, December 2016)

Interview With Sarah Nichols (Poet & Author Of She May Be a Saint, Hermeneutic Chaos, December 2016)

This is an almost unbearably sad story. The case remains open sixty-nine years later. She was only twenty-two when she died! Before I started these poems, I wondered what the after-life would be like from her point of view. I imagined her angry at the men who speculated and fantasized about her, I imagined someone who wanted movie stardom, but who got infamy instead. Someone, who, in death, finally became herself. Towards the end of the project, I wrote two poems, "Elizabeth Short Dreams of Blade Runner" and "Elizabeth Short Visits the Black Lodge." Her story is a part of a kind of underground popular history, and I wanted to see her intersect with two things that I love, Blade Runner, which is set in the Los Angeles of 2019, and Twin Peaks, where Dale Cooper dreams of meeting Laura Palmer, who, even though she’s dead when we’re introduced to her, we see her in life, too. How would these women interact in this place which between 1990, when the show first aired, and now, has taken on a huge after-life of its own? Both Blade Runner and Twin Peaks are endlessly quotable; so I used a few lines of dialogue in both. Roy Batty’s line in Blade Runner, "I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe," struck me as particularly apt. As for Twin Peaks, the lines are almost too perfect: "She’s filled with secrets," and "sometimes, my arms bend back." I cited the original sources, but all of the words were also in Ellroy’s text.

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