Interviewed by Suzanna Anderson for the Magnolia Review ("Spitting Distance"):
Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?
"I write exclusively from home. There is a combined ease for me in being able to adjust the thermostat, as well as having everything I need at my disposal; however, my home is also filled with disruptions. Though I have been taught countless times that one’s creative space should be clear from distractions, I welcome them. For me, there is an organic, sinewy tension that arises from being interrupted and I believe that tension finds its way into my fiction."
What kind of materials do you use? Do you write by hand or type? What is your favorite writing utensil?
"I wish I could offer you something sexy here like I heave my fingers towards the keys of my 1903 Corona typewriter that was salvaged from the Titanic. The reality is I chicken-peck at the MacBook."
What is your routine for writing?
"I write when it’s dark. The sun’s activity has no place in my writing space. Then, the first thing I do each time is take a seat behind each of my characters eyes. I do this one by one, for a moment each. And then I listen to my characters. They tell me things and show me glimpses of their world. They whisper their secrets. Then, I don’t write; I transcribe."
How long have you been writing?
"I’ve been writing in one form or another for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t seriously start considering writing for publication until last year."
Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you write for?
"In many ways, I write for myself. Each word I put on the page builds my sense of worth. Writing allows me the opportunity to spar with the terrible lie that is “you don’t matter.” Likewise, to build your own beautiful and exciting monuments reaffirms for me that my consciousness is not temporary."
What inspires you to write? If you are blocked, what do you do?
"I’m bad at sleeping. Junior varsity. I often lay in bed, feeling exhaustion behind my eyes, but my thoughts tumble with such force that I need to direct them towards something productive. I do some of my best thinking when I can’t sleep. In those quiet moments, I sometimes “write” an entire piece in my head before I actually sit down to type it out. The few times I’ve had writer’s block, I use the opportunity to read. I’ve found no more significant way to reawaken the creative flow than paying reverence to the writing of others."
What is your favorite part of the creative process?
"Simply put, freedom."
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
"The most important advice I can give is to be a reader first and a writer second. READ! Get a feel for how a story is told; how it starts, how it progresses through to a satisfying end. See how your favorite author keeps you interested. Get your hand on the genres you love, but be sure to explore others. There are so many homogenized, over-workshopped pieces excessively influenced by the values and experiences of the small groups they have bounced around in that without further exploration end up in the status-quo pile. I also suggest paying less attention to the words on the page and placing more attention on the fire between them."
"The ballroom is filled to capacity in all of its elegance. Each patron dancing properly, the pinnacle of the active exertion of the body in graceful movement, accompanied by an exhilaration of the mind. His thin and deficient shadow stretches across the parched tapestry behind him. The retching waves of blistering nausea still tip-toeing their devil’s dance up and down his abdomen, convulsing to accent a false promise of purging; the ominous emptiness of his inner landscape; the brooding quiet, cut through only by the hum of lights tuning up for the following evening’s event."
"The Wonder of It All"
by Kevin Haslam
"Every morning the waitresses lined up for inspection. Two stories above Park Avenue at 18th, the owner’s son fussed over every detail of their appearance and demanded superbly pressed uniforms. Each waitress dressed in a corresponding black outfit. Their well-starched ivory collars and petite pearl aprons provided the only embellishment that distinguished their garb from that of a widow’s dress. Most of them were Irishwomen “right off the boat,” an expression popular with the sundown cocktail crowd. The only splashes of color allowed in their attire were their curly ginger locks. Those who did not pass the daily inspection were treated as refuse and thrown out for the day. For most, this would entail a pilgrimage back over the bridge to the Vinegar Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. No wages were allotted for their effort."
Year IV, Number 25, June 2019
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