Meet Winter Flash Fiction Contest Runner Up Marie Mazur, Author of "Sisters"

Tuesday, July 04, 2017
Congratulations to Marie Mazur on her touching tale "Sisters" !

Marie Mazur would have been a perpetual student studying literature and history had time and finances allowed it. Eventually, she settled on law school and a career as an attorney. But deep down the desire to write fiction, especially mysteries, always clawed at her heart and occupied her mind. Ever since her Aunt Julie sat eight-year-old Marie down in front of a bookshelf filled with Nancy Drew mysteries, she was a captive.

Life and work prevented any sustained effort at writing but a few years ago she went on the lam, leaving a steady job behind for work on various projects. Finally, there was time to write. While novels had always been her goal, the discovery of flash fiction was a delight. What a challenge to tell a compelling tale with so few words! Marie began writing flash fiction only a few months ago, but she’s forever hooked.

Marie lives in Michigan, dreams of Arizona, but truth be told would never abandon the changing seasons. Besides her burning desire to write, she has a fever for singer-songwriter and poet, the late Leonard Cohen. She counts among her most precious moments the meals she shared with him. He is her inspiration for the perfection of the written (and sung) word.

...interview by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

WOW!:  I love that you quit a steady job to pursue your passions! Please share with us what your present self might say if given an opportunity to speak with your younger self. Would you encourage her to be more carefree early on? What advice would you give your previous self when it comes to writing, dreaming, and follow your heart?

MARIE: I would tell my younger self to stop listening to other people and instead, listen to yourself. That voice that tells you what you need won't be silenced. Don't be misled into believing that there is a choice between what you long to be doing and what is practical for making a living. There is no choice. If you don't choose your passion, it won't go away. It will be nipping at your heels and clawing at your heart every single day of your life. You will be told that finding and pursing your passion represents a carefree or irresponsible endeavor, but in reality this is like being told water is a luxury. Unless you heed the call of your passion, you will be thirsty all the time.

On writing, I would tell my younger self that despite all the books, classes and workshops on writing, the truth is that part of the process of creating good work will always be a mystery, a kind of gift which you feel you don't deserve. Part of that mystery is finding your voice. There are things in your heart which you want to say but discovering "the how" doesn't come quickly for some people. Don't give up. Stick your toe in the writing pond every so often and see if the temperature is right. If it isn't, don't force it and don't become frustrated because eventually the pond will warm enough for you to take a dip.

WOW!: And such a gift you have! Thank you for sharing that advice with our WOW! readers and writers.

What inspired the story "Sisters"? The characters are written with such detail I have to believe they were inspired by people in real life. Tell us more about what or whom inspired you?

MARIE: For a number of years I worked with women who experienced domestic abuse. I also had a few personal experiences. Most of the details in the story were the result of amalgamation and imagination. But what I wanted to capture, which I've seen over and over, is the sixth sense that individuals who have experienced abuse have for others who are suffering the same fate. The tiniest detail, a look, a tensing of a shoulder, can convey an entire story of torment.

WOW!: I definitely think we need to trust that 6th sense and reach our when we feel moved to do so. Thank you for your openness about such a delicate subject.

What advice to you give other writers who may be hesitant about flash fiction and/or flash fiction contests?

MARIE: I find it amusing that for most of my life I really detested short stories. I think I can still hear my groans when I'd sign up for a literature class in college and discovered that there was an anthology of short stories on the reading list. I enjoyed burying my life for weeks under the weight of voluminous novels, to live the characters' lives as I was living my own. I loved the ups and downs of novels and the long build up to the climax. Nothing that I loved seemed to exist in short stories, and certainly not in flash fiction. Yet, as a wanna-be-writer, I had so many bits and pieces in my head that could be turned into flash fiction stories. So my choice of flash fiction was simply to clear my head of swirling chaos, but I quickly discovered that I loved writing them. For one thing, there was no slogging through the mud trying to move from one point to the next that exists when you are trying to hash out a novel. Flash fiction pours out of you. And most pleasurably, you get to an ending. If you are a writing that never-ending novel, writing a story that comes to an end is nirvana. If this isn't enough incentive, the inevitable editing that is required to get your story under the word limit is one of the best writing exercise you will ever experience. So, I would recommend every writer give it a try.

WOW!: I'm so glad you gave it a whirl - your story is beautiful.What made you decide to submit a piece for the WOW! Women on Writing Winter Flash Fiction Contest? What are your feelings now that you've placed?

MARIE: This is one of the other aspects that's great about flash fiction. Flash fiction contests like those sponsored by WOW! Women on Writing provide a vehicle for you to get professional feedback on your writing. If you are surrounded by people who only want to be kind, it is hard to improve your writing. It is great to get some honest feedback which contains suggestions and ideas. WOW! Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contests provide just that and it's worth every penny and then some.

WOW!: I think the key is to provide feedback while being kind, right? I think we all try to do that with one another.

How did you or how do you plan to celebrate your placing in the WOW!Women on Writing Winter Flash Fiction Contest?

MARIE: The best way a writer can, by working on another flash fiction story, of course!

WOW!: Such exciting news and we look forward to seeing your smiling face here at WOW! again in the future!

Thank you so much for your time and for sharing your talents with WOW! Women on Writing.

Our Summer 2017 Flash Fiction Contest is NOW OPEN!
For information and entry, visit our contest page.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Crystal--Thanks for doing the interview.

Congratulations on being the runner-up. Congratulations for even entering the contest. Many people are unwilling to even risk submitting to a contest. It takes a lot to just enter, to just become a contender...

I read your story. It's apparent you put your days as a lawyer and an observer to work.

Congrats again, and good luck with your future writing.

Crystal Otto said...

These interviews are so much fun! I not only love reading the stories, but finding out more about the authors and their backgrounds is inspiring. Congratulations to all the entrants - you're all winners in my book!

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