Sometimes I read stories and I appreciate them on an intellectual or technical level — yes, this is a good story. And then there are those that strike me on an emotional level. I think your story hits me on that emotional level — I fell in LOVE. I’m curious how you feel about it — do you ever fall in love with your own stories? Or does the process of writing/rewriting, etc. sort of ruin that reaction because you’ve lived with the piece for so long?
First, love, wow, thanks. I fall in love with stories too, and usually email a love letter to the author. I don’t think love is a word I’d use for my own work, though. We’d probably use the “it’s complicated” check box on Facebook.
This story in particular feels like a puzzle. It started out much much longer and nearly died a slow, boring death. Then I condensed it as an exercise, and suddenly it worked. But now I see each one of its parts clearly. It’s all elbows to me. While we’re on the topic, love is the best word for how I feel about the illustration.
Yes, the illustration is perfect! You’re good friends with the artist, yes? Did she help you get through those painful teenage angst-y years that you capture the mood of so well in this story? Did high school suck for you, or do you look back fondly?
Yes, Amy and I are friends from high school. Being Amy’s friend was great at that age, because she wasn’t ever trying to fit in. She wasn’t afraid to just be herself.
Do I look back fondly on high school in general? No. Nope.
April’s going to be ok, right?
I think she’ll be fine. High school will probably continue to be a little miserable, but it will build her character.
What makes you happiest?
I’m happiest when starting something new. I’m also very happy when surrounded by my family. And on the 4th of July. Parades, fireworks, dogs wearing bandanas, it doesn’t get much better.
What’s the worst piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
Instead of one single piece of advice, I think the worst thing for my writing has been listening to too many opinions. Too much conflicting feedback has stifled more than a few of my stories. Breaking a story down can make the magic evaporate. I sound anti-MFA, anti-workshop. I’m not. I just need to learn selective hearing.