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by Jason Wright

Congratulations on being published most recently in Necessary Fiction, your short story Lined Up Like Scars, is beautifully complex. Would you care to expand on what motivated you to write such a haunting piece?

Oh, to have strange ornaments in the shape of people come up and share a few dangling moments of their being with you is exquisite and haunting. Yes, I met a woman staring up at dolls, but I moved in on her and spoke first. She only said a few words, yet she was hypnotic. I've never forgotten her and slowly a story grew around that short exchange that we shared. Really enjoyed it.

"My heart is the shape of a fist!" The last line in your short story, Can You Hear the Fog? published in Decomp, a Literary Magazine. Beautiful imagery and the rawness that exudes from your pen is incredible! I have to say I was quite taken with that piece. What happens to the character next? What imagery, imagination…just beautiful. What do you listen to when you write something like Can You Hear the Fog? Where does the character end and you begin? Do you use reoccurring character traits in your short stories?

Thank you so much, Jason. The deal with flash fiction is that we can fill in the gray space of past and future of character so you can work in whatever you like before it begins and after it ends. I need quiet space when I'm writing, so I wasn't listening to anything when I wrote the story, except whatever was going on in my head. Most of the time there is a piece of myself in the story, the character, and reoccurring traits tend toward the overcast and domestic constipation.

I want to hear more, I see you have been published many times online in-between full-length releases. Is this the new way to get out there and be heard? Are these teasers to buy full lengths?

I do not believe there is anything new about sending work out when it is finished, well before a collection has even been anticipated. No, these are nothing more than stories that I've completed and felt I could send out, and if they were published than that was great.

Right Hand Pointing recently published your poem Stray. I must say I could feel this character developing before me. I have noticed that character development is difficult, not common in poetry. Charles Bukowski comes to mind, and his character Henry Chinaski. Who are the reoccurring characters, what are their emotions, and where do they come from?

I tend to write more narrative, whether it be poetry or prose. I like to write about family and the angst that rides behind closed doors. It is rampant through my stories. My family was a wild, strange mix of isolation and awkward gatherings. I definitely work from there most of the time.

I like your collages: twisted portraits of legends who lived very complex lives. Jarring portraits of brilliant men and women who shaped history like Virginia Woolf, Picasso, Nietzsche, Flannery O'Connor, William S. Burroughs, Mick Jagger, Malcolm X.

Thank you. I enjoyed making them. A lot of people ask me to make a collage of someone they love, but I only make collages of those that really speak to me. They were originally made as gifts for friends after I surrounded myself with them. How they made it out there is another story, but the gut feeling is the same. True inspiration and LOVE!

I am an aspiring writer and editor of a literary magazine myself. What kind of tips would you give to people who are afraid of rejection and don't think they are good enough to be published? I felt like that, so I started my own magazine for people like me. How did you overcome that hurdle?

Very cool that you started a literary magazine. I hope you enjoy the process of reading new work from writers and sometimes sending an acceptance when you find a true gem! That's beautiful! Rejection is subjective. All editors are writers. All editors have certain genres and writing styles that speak to them more than others. I tell my students to read the magazines before sending to them. Most journals have a specific feel to them and if it jives with what we're writing and what we love to read than send to those magazines. Don't send blindly.

Can you count how many times you have been rejected? I know you have to have tough skin. Do you find it hard to be both a poet and an author? Sometimes it's one or the other. I think writers maybe use poetry as writer's prompts, exercises if you will to get their minds in motion to create longer pieces. What do you think when it comes to poetry versus short stories, and full lengths?

3,444,773 times if I don't include the four when they said yes and then went defunct or the other three when they said if you could just change this and this and then... and this and this and then.... and, well, yeah, those... I use a deep moisturizer called intensive nourishing cream and also a soothing spray of thermal spring water at least 3x a day because I live in the desert and I know about tough skin, but am still fighting it! It's true. I do use those, whether I get published or not. I had a friend who did wallpaper his apartment with rejection letters and that was beautiful. I wish I'd done that. Now, most of them are rejections online, although I could print them out and then splay them in all their glory. Splay. What an exquisite word. I like your questions! Poet and writer. I LOVE poetry. I LOVE poetic prose. I believe it's my favorite medium and I don't like to deal with how long or short it is. I do like to write it. And no, it is not used as a prompt for me. It is the perfect climate.

What makes a poet a poet, and an author an author? Is there a difference?

I've always loved poetry. I've always loved novels and story collections. But I have to say that my favorite is the combination of the two. Janet Frame, YES! Kate Braverman, YES! Bruno Schulz, YES! These are three poetic authors that have lost the binding on their books and cover my desk. I am excited by their work and the inimitable way they rediscover the mundane and make the inanimate animate. It cannot get better than this. NO!


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