Juan Alvarado Valdivia – Conversation No. 18

Juan Alvarado Valdivia – Conversation No. 18
“When you’re writing about your life, about something you said or did, you’re actively reliving those moments and the emotions you tie to them. Conjuring all those difficult memories, moments I regret, moments I am ashamed of was tough, but ultimately necessary. I had been carrying that shit around for a long time and writing helped me to shed much of that self-directed guilt and shame I felt and perpetuated.” Continue reading Juan Alvarado Valdivia – Conversation No. 18

Danny Gardner – Conversation No. 16

Danny Gardner – Conversation No. 16
“Postwar America was a different nation for different people. It’s generally framed as being so simple—we went over there, kicked some ass, returned and built highways and suburbs and grew into a Superpower. Except it wasn’t so simple and prosperous for black folk, who couldn’t redeem its promise and potential without risk of destruction.”
[Book cover design is by Dyer Wilk] Continue reading Danny Gardner – Conversation No. 16

Ron Riekki – Conversation No. 15

Sometimes writers (virtually) meet each other because they share a publication together. Ron Riekki and I had stories published in Literary Orphans’ Blondie Issue (May 20, 2014, Issue 13). We dug each other’s stories and Ron introduced me to regional writings from a part of the U.S. I knew little about. I invited Ron to have a conversation about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the rich literary culture that thrives there, as well as to talk about his own work and what inspires him. Continue reading Ron Riekki – Conversation No. 15

Nathaniel Tower – Conversation No. 12

Nathaniel Tower is a prolific writer, established editor, and athlete. He writes stories that stay in your head for all the good reasons. His prose style and matter-of-fact tone convince you that what you just read is completely plausibe, at least within the elaborate world Tower creates. He gets away with this because his prose is clear and authoritative. If you choose follow the words on the page, you will be rewarded with a satisfying finale. Continue reading Nathaniel Tower – Conversation No. 12

Gill Hoffs – Conversation No. 11

The presence felt from reading a good piece of writing stays with you long after you finished reading that last line. It’s a feeling I often experience when reading Gill Hoff’s work. There’s passion and love, commitment and plain old fun in every piece this woman writes. I was curious to talk to Gill about her fiction and nonfiction, her process, and hear what she finds fascinating about writing. Continue reading Gill Hoffs – Conversation No. 11

Gloria Mindock – Conversation No. 10

Gloria Mindock is a name that I became familiar with through friends. Gloria is a brilliant poet, editor, and publisher. She’s a major part of Červená Barva Press, where some of my favorite poets have published chapbooks. She is also a tremendous advocate for emerging and established literary voices. I was very eager to have a chat with her and find out more about her work as artist and literary extraordinaire. Gloria delivered! Continue reading Gloria Mindock – Conversation No. 10

2013 Conversation Series – Favorite Answers

I began the Conversation Series because I wanted to learn more about creative folks, their work, and why they’ve chosen to dedicate time to making art. Here are some of my favorite answers from 2013. Much love, respect, and gratitude to Susan Tepper, Robert Carlos Garcia, Meg Tuite, James Claffey, Jen Knox, Matt Potter, Bud Smith, Robert Vaughan, and CS DeWildt. Continue reading 2013 Conversation Series – Favorite Answers

Robert Vaughan – Conversation No. 8

I hit the wall in 2010. The year before, my first story was published in Pank. In May of 2010, I graduated from my MFA program. That summer, I attempted to write new stories. I failed. By November, I was feeling lost. I joined the online writing community known as Fictionaut. The first writer to welcome me to the site was Robert Vaughan. For the next six months, I read stories by Robert and other established and emerging writers and poets. Robert’s pieces were always at the top of Fictionaut’s Recommended Stories list and the notice was well-deserved. As a minimalist writer, I’ve experienced my share of disparaging criticism for my work, but Robert offered me encouragement and for that I’m forever grateful. Continue reading Robert Vaughan – Conversation No. 8

Bud Smith – Conversation No. 7

There’s something about Bud Smith, I’m not sure if it’s the name, which has this film noir appeal to it, or if it’s the sense of humor in his work, which is featured in some pretty awesome places around the internet, or if it’s that he’s that super enthusiastic, intelligent, and kind guy I never met in person. Whatever it is, I like Bud. So … Continue reading Bud Smith – Conversation No. 7

Matt Potter – Conversation No. 6

Last year, I submitted a short piece about my parents to Pure Slush. Matt Potter responded to my submission in record time. If you are a writer (or poet, artist, performer), you are accustomed to the Wait. So when an editor (or other gatekeeper) answers to a submission quickly, you’re grateful. If the response is an acceptance, you wanna shout down the halls of the … Continue reading Matt Potter – Conversation No. 6

Jen Knox – Conversation No. 5

I first met Jen Knox last September. She read at Susan Tepper‘s Fizz Reading Series at KGB Bar in the East Village. Jen was part of a stellar group of readers, which included Stephanie Dickinson, JP Reese, and Roberto Carlos Garcia. I had an online connection with many writers there that night, but I was meeting most of them face-to-face for the first time. These … Continue reading Jen Knox – Conversation No. 5

James Claffey – Conversation No. 4

Sometimes writers just click. Perhaps it’s a common artistic sensibility, maybe one writer impresses the other with a ballsy technique, or shows the other writer a new way to approach an old narrative problem. All these things are true for me when it comes to James Claffey. I remember seeing one of his flash fiction pieces in Fictionaut and thinking, Wow, beautiful! And when I … Continue reading James Claffey – Conversation No. 4

Meg Tuite – Conversation No. 3

I learned about Meg Tuite through Facebook. We had some friends in common. My friends posted links to her publications with frequency. I grew curious and began reading her stories and poems. I immediately felt connected to her work. Encouraged by this affinity, I submitted a couple of flash pieces to Connotation Press where Meg is the fiction editor. She urged me to send more and eventually … Continue reading Meg Tuite – Conversation No. 3

Roberto Carlos Garcia – Conversation No. 2

Roberto and I met the old-fashioned way writers meet, through our work. I had just come out of a self-imposed, post-MFA, two-year incubation period. As a way to jump-start my writing, I joined an online community for writers called Fictionaut, and began posting a series of flash fiction on that site. My little stories received a modest amount of attention, but, more importantly, there were a … Continue reading Roberto Carlos Garcia – Conversation No. 2

Susan Tepper – Conversation No. 1

Last April, I attended a poetry reading at KGB, “a Soviet-era themed bar in the East Village of New York City, which once served as a speakeasy for Ukrainian socialists.” The reading’s host was Susan Tepper. Eamon Grennan, Gretl Claggett, and Steve Griffiths were the featured poets. The crowd was older and serious about their poetry. I strode in and parked myself by the bar and ordered … Continue reading Susan Tepper – Conversation No. 1