Interview with JC Sullivan: Winter 2012 Flash Fiction Contest Runner-Up
Having won awards for her creative nonfiction and poetry, this is her first published fiction piece.
For bursts of optimism, please visit her new bilingual blog: www.backpackingpoet.com. JC welcomes your suggestions and urges you to find your passion.
If you haven't done so already, check out JC's award-winning story "Artist Doublespeak: The Imaginary Interview Within," and return here for a chat with the author.
WOW: Congratulation on placing in the WOW! Winter 2012 Flash Fiction Contest. How did you begin writing this story, or what was your inspiration for it?
JC: Filled with self-doubt, I read an interview with Oscar-winning writer Aaron Sorkin who said that he kept worrying that "they" would come up to him and knowing that he was a Hollywood phony, say, "Game Over. Get out of here." I thought if a superstar like Sorkin could think he was a fake, my insecurity was understandable. I started to play with the idea of listening to and trusting one's inner voice, which I think is the crux of being an artist.
WOW: Self-doubt is such a common and destructive enemy of the writer! It’s great that you are not only able to recognize that, but use it in your writing. What do you enjoy most about writing?
JC: Deadlines. That way I know it's finished. (smile) I hate writing (re-writing is worse). However, if my stories can make people laugh or inspire them to lead the lives they are capable of, the pain is worth it to me.
WOW: That’s a noble goal: “inspire them to lead the lives they are capable of.” What are you reading right now, and why did you decide to read it?
JC: Confidential, the story of Arnon Milchan, a highly successful Hollywood producer who most people don't know is/was an arms dealer, too. The double life thing intrigues me. The way that some people can crossover from one high-level success story into a totally different category is amazing and gives me no excuse for not doing better in my one area.
WOW: If you could have dinner with one author, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
JC: John Patrick Shanley who has been described as a "badass romantic" and the author behind the Pulitzer-prize winning, "Doubt" which is as flawless a play as one can hope to ever find. I had the great fortune of seeing it on Broadway with Cherry Jones. Afterwards we all had to discuss who was guilty. The next morning, we'd all changed our minds. Even now, several years later, I was out with my friends at another play entirely and we reminisced and marveled at Doubt, his amazing piece of work.
Or Aaron Sorkin, the creator behind Sports Night, my favorite show ever. Everything he does is so smart and yet incredibly enjoyable and always makes you think. A visionary, to me he is the personification of "engaging material." "You can't handle the truth!" is one of the best single lines ever delivered.
WOW: So many sources of inspiration, so little time! What is the most useful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
JC: I read that we should write in 90-minute intervals. That represents the length of your brain's creative cycle so that somewhere in that period, you will find something of value. Find the process that works for you. We're all different. I really do like writing in my pajamas on my stomach in my bed. Please write - we all have been given important messages to send out into the world.
WOW: Thank you for your thoughtful answers. Happy writing!
Interviewed by: Anne Greenawalt