What kind of question would you like answered?

Q: There are many similarities between the swan and Alaska. Were you aware of this connection?

That is really compelling. I don’t think I was conscious of it, but it holds together better than a lot of metaphors I did intend.

The more I think about it, the more interesting it becomes. Swans are animals that we romanticize—endowing with nobility and beauty—but if you’ve ever actually encountered a swan, they’re a hell of a lot more complicated than that. The complex (and flawed) ideas associating whiteness and purity resonate for both swans and Alaska, too.

Most importantly, swans are traditionally associated with a passive beauty: They are things to be looked at. But in fact swans are capable of agency and power and biting people on the butt.

I like it!

Q: Does the Old Man represent a deity?

Yes, he is often likened by various characters in various ways to a deity, albeita frail one.


Q: Did the volcano candle stand for something?

I guess one could read the obvious symbolism of Alaska’s volatility and unpredictability. But the candle is also a reminder that Alaska clearly spends a lot of time by herself, and it is an attempt to build a new thing from a bunch of burnt-up old things, which has some connections to Alaska as a character.