Jordan Blum interviews flash fiction writer Sean Lovelace!
So where did the title How Some People Like Their Eggs come from? Do you think the freedom and choice to have such an odd yet intriguing title says something about the nature of flash fiction?
I’m not sure when I thought up the title. I just looked at the story titles and liked the ring. I don’t eat eggs, BTW. But I will say flash is like eggs–you can prepare it many, many ways. The only limit (and definition) of flash is word count. I’d say more than 750 words and you’re pushing the genre. But as for style, voice, structure, etc., flash is wide open. There is no limit, and it’s amazing to see what flash writers are doing these days within the form.
How important is sequence to the book’s flow?
It is something I thought about. I mean it was for a contest so I wanted the opening to be very strong. You can’t mess around with editors, judges–start with a bang. Hell, start every story with a bang, every first page. That’s really the key to publishing anything I suppose. Conflict. The ending story is obviously meant as an ending. And it mentions an anecdote from the opening, so it’s circular. So thought was there. Sort of like an album, you have to think about where to put your hits and where to bury your so-so’s.
In the introduction, there’s a unique spin on the famous Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken.” What was the intention behind this and is it a commentary about the tendency, almost obligatory, to hold “classics” in such high regard?
I didn’t write the introduction, the judge did. I think a writer needs to know the classics and the work of their contemporaries. A writer must read a ton, period.
Which piece in the book is your favorite and why?
It’s a good question, but I don’t know. People seem to love the “eggs” piece and the bocce one. I don’t know. I just know the Wal-Mart flash is the weakest. So I don’t like that one so much, but the tone fit the collection so I included it in the book. I try not to admire my own work too much. I mean a writer needs to write, mostly.
Do you think flash fiction is as legitimate and respectable as writing a short story and novel? Should a 1000 word story deserve as much praise as a 10,000 word story or a 50,000 word novel?
The issue of length is irrelevant. Almost every flash I’ve read is longer than “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Or all the work of Basho or Gary Snyder. Bolt is the fastest man in the world, but I would dust him in a marathon. So? I guess I’m saying do what the poets do–focus on the sentence and word. Flash is about compression. It deserves the same respect as the poet. The respect of the word.
What’s next for Sean Lovelace?
Well, I have a book coming out 2011. And I just put together another flash manuscript, a big one. So I need to send it somewhere. After that I’ll have a beer. Then I’ll probably go bow hunt and read a book while 25 feet up in the air. Then I’ll run and something will pop into my head and I’ll write something down. I don’t plan much. Things pop into my head.
Any advice for beginning FF writers (like myself)?
Read flash anthologies. Pay attention to life. Exercise. Engage. Read poetry. If you get an idea, write it down, don’t let it flit away. Avoid exclamation marks. Read all the Russians and the South Americans. Find a dump or junkyard and take a .22 pistol and shoot things. Read online literary magazines. SmokeLong Q, elimae, Juked, wigleaf, Diagram, all excellent suitcases of flash. Walk around the woods. Fish. That’s about it, I guess.
Well thanks for the advice, Sean.
No problem, Jordan. Thanks.
About the AuthorJordan Blum is an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) candidate at Rosemont College. His poetry has been published in Venture Magazine and he is in the process of revising several short stories, flash pieces and a novel for publication. He hopes to teach creative writing at the university level. When not writing fiction/poetry, he focuses on his other passion, music. He records his own progressive rock pieces as well as writes music journalism for three online publications and Ticket magazine in Montgomery Country. He lives in northeast Philadelphia.
For further reading, check out FlashFiction.Net’s suggested readings of flash fiction and prose poetry collections, anthologies, and craft books, by clicking here.