“A decade of transformation”: An Interview With Guest Reader Ashley Inguanta
You are a writer, photographer, and yoga teacher. Can you tell us how these areas intersect? Do they each inform the other?
I wouldn’t be able to write or navigate art photography without my yoga practice. I practice classical yoga, and in classical yoga the postures are tools, or carriers, for larger things; for example, becoming more aware and less reactive. As a student and a teacher, my classrooms are places for everyone to develop first-hand Knowledge by exploring these practices (yoga and writing) themselves. Instead of pushing all of my students to work at the same pace, I teach them how to self-evaluate so they can find the right pace for themselves and choose practices based on what is balancing for them.
What do you love about flash fiction?
I love how flash fiction can be so rhythmic and lyrical and carried by mood in a different way than a longer piece could. But my favorite thing about flash is its lack of context. I dream of being able to communicate with this way; to be so in-tune with an entity that you only need 1000 or so words (or less!) to “get,” or comprehend, a decade of transformation. I adore the way wordlessness combines with language in flash. It is such a gift.
What themes do you find yourself frequently writing about?
For the past two years I have been exploring death and dying through writing mostly poetry, sometimes essays, sometimes hybrid forms that feel like flash. I have also been navigating how language can lose its meaning when we try to connect with people after loss (“I’m sorry,” for example, is something we say when we bump into one another, and it’s also something we say at funerals). Of course, I keep writing about love, too, and gender, and sexuality. I will never stop that.
What kind of story would you love to find in your queue this week?
A story that uses language to bring me to a place I’ve never been before.
About the Reader:
Ashley Inguanta is a writer, art photographer, and educator. She is the author of three collections: The Way Home (Dancing Girl Press 2013), For the Woman Alone (Ampersand Books 2014), and Bomb (Ampersand Books 2016). Her work has also appeared in publications like The Rumpus, PANK, The Los Angeles Review, and SmokeLong Quarterly, where she served as Art Director for five years. Recently she was awarded a partial fellowship to work on her full-length collection, The Flower (Ampersand Books 2019), at Sundress Academy for the Arts in Knoxville, Tennessee. When she is not writing, you can find her exploring the wilderness, practicing classical yoga, and teaching her beautiful students throughout the U.S.
About the Interviewer:
Shasta Grant is the author of the chapbook Gather Us Up and Bring Us Home (Split Lip Press, 2017). She was the 2016 SmokeLong Quarterly Kathy Fish Fellow and she won the 2015 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest. Her stories have appeared in Hobart, matchbook, MonkeyBicycle, wigleaf, and elsewhere.