Smoke and Mirrors—An Interview with Michael Credico

by Qiana Towns Read the Story September 21, 2015

You are, in your own words, always astonishing. What astonishing things have you done in 2015?

I forgot about that being on my Twitter profile. I am less astonishing and more difficult than when I put that up. I have recently made several astonishing cups of coffee this year using beans from Seattle Coffee Works, Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, Spyhouse, Rising Star, and Akron Coffee Company.

Who would have won the fight between the speaker and Roderick (a.k.a. Ron w/ War Stories)? Who’s Debo’in whom here? Does either fighter have any good fighting skills? Nunchuck skills?

I try never to get to the point of actual physical conflict or violence, so I am not sure. Real folks fighting is boring as shit. If they were going to have fighting skills, it would have to be something to do with magic because I am not talented enough to write a legitimate nunchucking sequence.

When I read the story I was immediately drawn to the speaker’s interaction with the people around him or her. And as I understand it you like to look for inspiration in public places. So, I’d like to know what came first: the premise for the story or the characters. Also, I wonder if any of the characters in “Postwar: Apiary, Aviary” were people you spotted in the mall or overheard while eavesdropping?

An image usually comes first for me. For this story it was a skull full of honey. Once I get an image I enjoy, I hope to build enough interesting sentences around it to make it something interesting. My public inspirations usually come from the news or social media. I am unlikely to be spotted at a mall. I am a clumsy eavesdropper.

The birds. The bees. The F-bomb. I’ve been tossing these elements around in my head since I read your story. My thought is it may have been your intent while writing the story to promote some contemplation of eroticism. Is this true?

I think that’s true. I have a series of “Postwar” stories dealing with uncomfortable physical connections and the attempted shift from individual to family unit that I hope invite contemplation about lifecycles, values, and the like. I think my characters are generally too cold and too selfish to think in terms of eroticism.

Congratulations on finishing the MFA in creative writing this year. You describe the works in your master’s thesis as “the you and the me of us and of this: ours” and I genuinely love that line. Do you take this a motto for all of your stories? What do you think is the most pertinent issue pressing us?

Thank you. That line came from a sequence of dialogue in a story since recycled. Selfishness and desperation are probably my horses for much of the fiction I have written over the last year. As far as the most pertinent issue pressing us? I have been thinking more about the environment. My feelings range from apathy to general discomfort, like the folks who drop out of unemployment data because they have given up. I have been thinking about bees in particular. One day there might not be any and that is as strange a thought as ever could be had.

About the Author:

Michael Credico's fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Black Warrior Review, Diagram, Hobart, NANO Fiction, Necessary Fiction, The Newer York, Quarterly West, Word Riot, and others. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

About the Interviewer:

Qiana Towns is author of the chapbook This is Not the Exit (Aquarius Press/Willow Books, 2015). She resides in Flint, Michigan, where she serves as the community outreach coordinator for Bottles for the Babies, a grassroots organization created to support the residents of Flint during the water crisis.

About the Artist:

Katelin Kinney is from the hills and fields of Southern Indiana. She attained two BFAs from the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis, IN. Her portfolio consists of fine art and commercial freelance work.