Winter '09 Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up, Cindy Haynes

Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Cindy Haynes has written enough stories, essays and mostly children’s tales to fill a very large wardrobe that might just open in the back to some far away time and place. She would rather be with herself and her imagination and her writing than anywhere else. Inspiration comes from friends, daydreaming out a window at the garden and from snatches of life such as walking by a limousine recently in NY City and seeing a beautiful woman in the back seat crying, while a man in a tuxedo standing outside caressed her cheek. It is easy to live the writing life when your senses take in all about you.

When not writing, Cindy runs, reads and takes wonderful trips in a 19’ RV named Van Cliburn with her husband Bill and way-too big dog Sadie.

Interviewed by Marcia Peterson

WOW: Congratulations on placing as a runner up with your story, “Windows of Change.” What inspired you to enter the contest?

Cindy: WOW is like Christmas every day. I wake up each morning, grab the coffee and head to my computer to keen the essay of the moment. I love your 750 word limit. First I just write away at my dream or experience of the moment. Then I repeatedly hit word count and smile. The fine tuning is a skill that I learned at a three week Iowa Writer's Workshop with fabulous writer/instructor Chris Offutt. He does something like cut his story into sentence strips and place them around his house. Wherever he is he takes a sentence and rearranges, eliminates, adds words until it is "tight and clean." I'm no Chris. But I love the process. I adore your contest and of course the prizes. You are my inspiration. I bow down to you WOW staff.

WOW: Thank you for the kind words about, WOW! Your editing process sounds kind of fun too. Could you tell us what encouraged the idea behind the story?

Cindy: Although I do not think I portrayed it well, my neighbor is my dearest friend and has been for 35 years. And she did lose a child.

WOW: I thought it was a lovely portrayal. It seemed like it could be based on real life events. Have you written other flash fiction? What type of writing do you most prefer?

Cindy: Yes, I have entered each season for two years now. I was honorable mention last fall and runner up this past winter. I am with you for life! I read contemporary fiction and seem to write that best. However, I have "finished" but not at all fine tuned a young adult chapter book about low lives who are comprised of Mosquito Bite, Brussel Sprouts, Finger Nails On Chalkboard and a few others. Boy do I need help with that. Anyone out there wanna start a YA writing group? Ooops. I should look over what WOW offers. Maybe there is some workshop I can take.

WOW: We do have some great workshops available. A YA class would probably be a good addition to the list, so we'll look into that.

We’d love to know more about your writing routines. For example, where do you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing? Any favorite rituals?

Cindy: I am missing the part of the brain that "finishes things." Again, WOW is helping me to develop that part of my meager brain. So I do not have a routine where I sit for hours. Any good book will distract me. However, I do write copious emails and work at my essays and chapter book for a couple of hours each morning. I dart for the computer when a new idea comes my way. My computer is in a cubby and all around me are photos of me with greats for inspiration. My latest and most prized is me sitting next to a glowering Lemony Snicket aka Daniel Handler. I'm also partial to the picture of me with Mary McGarry Morris taken at a book signing about 15 years ago.

WOW: You mentioned that you take trips in a 19’ RV named Van Cliburn. Where have you been lately and how the heck did the RV get its name?

Cindy: My favorite trip in Cliburn was three years ago when we traveled to Alaska and back from March 31st to July 31st. We had particularly great weather. It was a magical trip. I put together a small book of my essays from the trip. I gave it to fellow writers and to my best fan of all, my 98-year-old mother-in-law, Marion, who inspires me by always asking for more.

My husband Bill is a classical and opera music lover. He has taken the same opera course from the same instructor no less than 15 times. The instructor does work with different composers and operas each semester. So Van Cliburn was a fit name for our little home on wheels.

WOW: Sounds fun. Do you have any final words of wisdom for our women readers/writers?

Cindy: I do know by now as I approach the winter of my years, that one has to have a passion for writing to really get to it. I feel so very blessed that I have the passion. When one loves to read and write, one will never ever be bored. If you are inclined to try writing, start with this essay contest. When you enter, it will be the best ten dollars you spend all summer. You will hit send, smile and begin another adventure story. Have I said thank-you Women On Writing?

WOW: Yes, you have and thanks again, Nancy! Best of luck with your future writing endeavors.


Join in the fun! Our Summer Flash Fiction contest is OPEN.

Check back on Tuesdays for more previous contest winner interviews.


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