The Next Chapter

Why Sarah Meehan Sirk says we're all yearning for connections

The short story writer speaks about why, despite being more digitally "connected" than ever, we are still searching for real life connections.
Sarah Meehan Sirk is the author of the short story collection The Dead Husband Project. (Penguin Random House Canada)

Sarah Meehan Sirk is a broadcaster, radio producer and author. Her first collection of short stories, The Dead Husband Project, examines themes of love, death and yearning for connection.

Linked stories

"I wrote this book over seven or eight years and I certainly didn't intend for the stories to be linked. They came out at different times in my life — before and after I had kids, some of them were written just after I was married — but there does seem to be a theme. I find that each story is steeped with this yearning, and in particular, a yearning for connection. I believe that to be a fundamental human trait. But in this time that we're in where we're supposedly so connected, I find it ironic that there's a real loneliness around us. Despite the fact that you can pick up and text or connect to somebody who's somewhere else, there are all of these interfaces between us, but there's also this artiface between us."

The highs and lows of social media

"As much as I love the Instagram — beautiful flowers, sunflares and filters — that's not your real life. I think we still want people to see us in our real lives.  It's extending our loneliness, and that's something that I find really fascinating. I like going to that lonely place. I think that in that place there are disappointments and regrets and confusion, and these are things that we're afraid to talk about — to admit to — but we still feel those things. Those are the things that I like writing about.

"[Social media] can feel like screaming out into the dark and sharing yourself and maybe ridding yourself of certain demons or questions or confusions or disappointments. I think that's what fascinates me about the whole idea of social media. These characters are in very particular existential moments and they're standing in a place and looking all around them at the things that they've done, at the implications of the decisions that they've made, and what they're going to do next. I believe that's a pivot point for a lot of the stories."             

Sarah Meehan Sirk's comments have been edited and condensed.