“Color by Numbers” by Stacia St. Owens

Stacia St. Owens‘ Willow Springs profile covers not only the mix of familial and autobiographical experiences that inspired her story “Color by Numbers,” but also the purpose of the its unique structure.

The columns suggest lives unspooling on separate tracks, also the creeping, stalking energy of something sinister gaining momentum. The paragraphs that end each episode are attempts to draw conclusions, and do so imperfectly. The paragraphs do draw connections, pointing out that although the characters feel oppressed by isolation, they are actually all entwined and all impact each other, though they do not perceive this.

“Color by Numbers” won the 2010 Willow Springs Fiction Prize and was published in Issue 66. The 2015 winner will be published in Willow Springs 76, coming in June.

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