Today’s interview is with M. Lopes da Silva, who had a story in Utter Fabrication in 2017 and is back with a story for I Didn’t Break the Lamp!
DV: Tell us a bit about yourself!
M. Lopes da Silva: I am a bisexual, medieval-aged author and artist from Los Angeles. I love folk and fairy tales, and end up putting elements from them in just about everything I make. I write hope, punk, and horror. “Nimble” is some of the hope.
DV: What inspired you to write “Nimble” for I Didn’t Break the Lamp?
MLdS: “Nimble” is a fictionalization of something I’ve had to do recently in real life–learn how to be kind to myself. I spent a lot of my 20s beating myself up over not attaining “normal” life goals (a consistent/consistently-paying job, a healthy relationship, etc.), which was cruel, and only made my mental health worse. Actively being kind and patient with myself has helped me grow emotionally stronger, and continues to benefit me. I have more energy to create, and I’m able to be there for others (as well as myself).
Also, it gets harder to make new friends as an adult. Your time becomes structured in a very precise way, and everybody is just slightly more tired and less motivated to hang out with each other. Adult relationships are hard! They require extra work. And when a friend moves away, sometimes you lose touch with them for years. “Nimble” is about a character who is experiencing the fragility of adult friendships while dealing with a toxic work environment and her own mental health hangups.
Oh, and the part where the protagonist goes temporarily blind because she worked too hard? That happened to me in college, twice. I was working on an MFA in animation while freelancing, and my body was being very sensible and shutting down when it reached its limits, but I was still pushing. I don’t do that anymore.
DV: Your main character names their imaginary acquaintance “Nimble” very quickly. What made you choose Nimble’s name?
MLdS: Names are the most woo-woo part of writing for me–very mysterious! My brain usually gloms onto a sound or word right away when I think about a character, and Nimble’s name came very quickly to me. If I were to guess, I’d say it came from a mental synthesis of “cumulonimbus” and “Jack Be Nimble”.
DV: What rituals or routines do you have around your writing process?
MLdS: I try not to ritualize too heavily, but I tend to get most of my writing done on a miniature collapsible desk I use in bed. I can write adequately at a table or desk, and sometimes I go to a library or coffee shop to spice up the scenery, but it’s always nice to write a draining paragraph and then collapse dramatically against some pillows afterwards. Do recommend.
DV: If you had an imaginary friend growing up, what was their name, and what were they like?
MLdS: When I was a kid I didn’t have an imaginary friend, but was really into the concept and wanted one for myself, so I made one up. I spent a couple weeks pointedly talking to people about my imaginary friend, only to forget consistent details like … their name. Or what they looked like. So I guess I had an imaginary imaginary friend.
DV: What’s on the horizon for you?
MLdS: Right now I’m working on a feminist slasher novella set in the 80s (I love to write horror). I recently published a 3-page comic about a witch dealing with a flood titled “The Night the Sea Came In” (you can read it for free online in Enchanted Conversation’s first all-comics issue). And a short story that I wrote about witch mechanics (“Witchcanix”) who convert magical creatures into cool tech is coming out soon from Microcosm Publishing. And there’s oodles more! I’m always working on something fun.