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Flash Interview: Sean Lovelace Cracked!

Jor­dan Blum inter­views flash fic­tion writer Sean Lovelace! 

Sean Lovelace Flash Cover.jpgSo 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 Author

Jordan Blum.jpgJor­dan 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.

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From Benjamin Grossman

Great inter­view. Guess I have a lot of read­ing to do. 

From Jessica Collins

Great advice I hope to be able to try and imple­ment some of that. 

From ak

avoid excla­ma­tion marks: this is my go-to rule. i’ve mas­tered the avoid­ance of them. i have not so much mas­tered the art of read­ing the rus­sians and south amer­i­cans. sean sounds like a fun guy. these inter­views are doing seri­ous dam­age to my pocket. First i had to order ben’s subject’s book, now this. thanks a lot guys.

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