I got the idea for “Parvati” when I was working on a longer story. I was trying to explain the roots of a modern family’s repetitive disfunctionality through the story a grandmother tells her granddaughter while combing her hair.
I eventually decided Parvati’s story wasn’t awful enough for that family, and made up something much more evil.
I used to have recurring nightmares about being bitten by a snake, a fox, and an alligator. But in real life, I was used to being around snakes and wasn’t afraid of them until I went to India. There I learned that I am only not afraid of black snakes, copperheads and timber rattlesnakes. I am scared silly by cobras. Having to walk past a snake charmer, knowing that he would chase me with that crazy snake because I was a tourist and therefore a good earning opportunity, absolutely petrified me.