Interview with Spring 2010 Flash Fiction Runner-Up: Doris Wright
Doris first saw the light of day in Panama, was reared in Germany, France and various US locations, served (briefly) as a hand on a Chinese junk, gave birth on St. Croix, and, more recently, rode the back roads of West Africa in cobbled-together buses and vans. In between some of that activity, she received a bachelor’s degree from Spring Hill College, worked as a teacher, newspaper reporter, and in insurance, and reared three sons. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband and best pal, Don, traveling, writing, and pulling weeds.
In addition to writing poetry and short stories, Doris continues to refine her ecologically concerned yet humorous novel, Cabbagehead, about the fruitful relationship between an introverted man and his extroverted, bedding plant. A chapter of the novel can be seen at the Buffalo Street Books “Works in Progress” website. Her latest endeavors include writing a mystery story and dabbling at a memoir. In the last few years, Doris has taken graduate English courses, participated in the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College, Colgate University’s novel and poetry workshops, and the Algonkian novel and pitch workshops.
If you haven't already done so, check out Doris's award-winning story "Natural Selection," and return here for a chat with the author.
WOW!: Congratulations on placing in the WOW! Spring Flash Fiction Contest! Can you tell us how you created and developed your story, “Natural Selection”?
Doris: This is a version of a longer piece I had written, based on an experience related to me years ago by a friend. He lived next door to a woman who, he said, paid more attention to her pet monkey than to her child. From that memory I imagined the circumstance of a neighbor becoming pathologically involved.
WOW!: I always find it so interesting how little bits of memory can evolve into a whole story. I read in your bio that you’re a world traveler. How have all of your world travels inspired your creativity?
Doris: I find travel stimulating. New sights—and even new sounds and smells—provoke new thoughts. The mind, I think, makes new connections conducive to the creative process.
WOW!: If you could have dinner with one published writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Doris: Only one? Then, Tolstoy. He was not only a wonderful writer, but also a visionary who incorporated his views of selflessness, love and responsibility into his writing without seeming didactic. (I guess it would help to have a Russian translator present).
WOW!: Great choice. It’s hard to choose just one when there are so many great writers out there. What is your strategy for finding or making time to write with a busy schedule?
Doris: I’m fortunate in that I’m not otherwise working. So while I have the time, I don’t use that time for writing as often as I’d wish. I’m easily distracted and battle a fear of writing. When I actually sit down to it, I find the process enjoyable.
WOW!: Ah, the fear of writing. I know that feeling well, but it does, as you said, seem to dissolve when I just sit down and do it. What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?
Doris: To sit down to write at a set time every day for one hour, most days a week. (The idea of one hour is key—it seems manageable and not too daunting. Once I start, I often go beyond the hour). I wish I followed that advice more. When I do, it works. Also, not to feel that you must write beautifully, perfectly as you start—don’t be an editor at that point, just let it flow. You can edit later.
Great advice! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Best of luck to you with your writing!
Interviewed by: Anne Greenawalt (http://www.annegreenawalt.com/)