How did you arrive at the story published in LITSNACK? Where did it come from?
Bette and Joy was one of those stories that just came organically. I find waiting rooms at the ER incredibly interesting because people always seem at their most fearful in this room, waiting to be seen, waiting for diagnosis. I began this story with the idea of a young woman who liked going to the ER daily, to dig the scene and bring some life (joy) to the place. Stories this short, for me, usually all come out at once. I let it settle for a few weeks before revising, and when I revised Bette’s character began to come to life as well, as a portrait of the average patient, trying to battle neurosis in the midst of feeling so helpless.
Describe your writing process.
I start with freewriting, never outlines. Usually, the real process happens for me when I begin the revision. I have learned that time is necessary to develop any perspective on the quality of my own work, so I let my writing simmer for a few days before rereading it. Once it’s on paper, the story seems to come together, little by little, each time I revisit the piece.
If you were a snack food (Twinkies, Cheez-Its, Pork Rinds, etc.), which snack food would you be and why?
Cubed cheese, probably colby-jack. I like everything about cheese: the texture, the convenience, and its compatibility with any meal and most all foods.
What is one of the earliest pieces of writing you read that hit you between the eyes?
Salinger’s Nine Stories struck me pretty hard. I’m still recovering, actually.
What’s one thing in your writing space we wouldn’t expect to be there. Why is it there?
A Strawberry Shortcake doll that, disturbingly, still smells like strawberries even though she’s over twenty years old. I keep her because I am a minimalist and, as such, I have kept very few possessions from my childhood.
Three individual words that would serve as advice to beginning writers
(e.g. Read, read, read)
Patience, Dedication, Integrity
Name a celebrity crush (justification optional)
Charles Osgood—need I really explain?
What’s one thing not in your standard 50-word publication biographical note we would find interesting about your life? Do you raise pigs? Collect bottle caps? Once appear on a reality TV show? What?
I’m good at imitations. I don’t have any celebrity fallbacks, but if we ever meet, give me twenty minutes and I’ll have all your mannerisms down. I’m also very good at copying signatures—probably a remnant of forging my parents’ signatures when I was a kid. Imitation is, I suppose, a valuable tool in creative writing. It helps when translating life onto the page. LS