As someone who enjoys being a hermit, I often worry about neglecting the needs of those I love in favor of my own personal projects. That worry served as inspiration for "Smaller," which takes on the perspective of a neglected partner. In no way do I think I'm as bad as the neglectful character of Oren, but this story served as a reminder for me to balance the time I give to myself and the time I give to loved ones.
I love writing the sorts of stories that allow me to interrogate aspects of myself I want to change or keep in check. For that reason, this story was a blast to write. When it came time for editing, Gabino Iglesias was a great beta reader. I took a workshop with him in the summer of 2020, and he gave some useful feedback that helped elevate the piece.
Why do you write horror?
The world is a horrifying place, and unfortunately, there is no shortage of real-world inspiration for horror stories. Writing horror helps me process what's frightening about life in a healthy, constructive way. It also allows me to criticize structures of power (e.g., capitalism) for what they truly are—monstrous forces that will destroy us if we don't resist them. On a lighter note, engaging with the spooky, the sinister, and the macabre is also just plain fun. After all, who doesn't enjoy a spine-tingling campfire tale?
ERIC RAGLIN (he/him) is a speculative fiction writer and horror educator from Nebraska. He frequently writes about queer issues, the terrors of capitalism, and body horror. His work has been published in Sirens Call, Fever Dream, and Shiver. Find him at ericraglin.com or on Twitter @ericraglin1992