Interview With Winter 2024 Flash Fiction Runner Up Winner, Jordan Bass

Tuesday, July 02, 2024

Today, I'm excited to interview Jordan Bass, one of our runner-up winners in our Winter 2024 flash fiction contest. Before you read our interview, read her story "Sea Monkeys," then come on back!

But first, here's more about Jordan:

Jordan Bass is a fiction writer who specializes in comedy, adventure, magical realism, and surrealism. She is inspired by fancy coffee drinks and watching her dogs sleep peacefully in the sun. For more of her work, follow her ongoing short story series, “Monomyth,” on Medium.

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: I love the strange attachment that Brad has for this creature that came out of him. And I felt like this was a metaphor for something not quite being said out loud. Am I right about that? If so, can you elaborate? 

Jordan: Sea Monkeys is written as a critique of the patriarchal view of the pro-life movement. When Brad sees the creature, he very quickly takes on the responsibility of caring for it, while professing his love for it unconditionally. However, when the creature becomes too hard to take care of, he dumps it in a river, completely backtracking on the responsibility he promised. His promises to care for the creature were only words in the end. Some in the pro-life movement who are free from the burdens of reproductive ability make these same promises: that they will care for the child, that they will support a family unit, etc., but in reality they can leave when things get too hard without major consequences. Ultimately, it is the pregnant person who has to go through a changing body, possible medical complications, and being used as an incubator for a child that, for whatever reason, they cannot support.

WOW: Aha! I had a feeling that was the underlying message. So, I loved your story! It was so unusual and creative. What inspired this idea?

Jordan: The first thing I began to think about was a scene from the second Harry Potter movie, in which one character begins to barf up slugs as a result of a spell gone wrong. I thought it would be interesting to take that situation, but apply it to newly adult college fraternity brothers in a realistic world, where partying is frequent and barfing slugs is not something that should ever happen. From there, the hungover main character has to navigate this unheard of situation while trying to care for a creature he knows nothing about. 

WOW: I think it's awesome you used something from a scene of a book to inspire your own work! What is your approach with writing flash fiction? 

Jordan: I tend to think of individual lines within my chosen plot first, and then write the story itself around those lines. In this case, I knew what my concept was and the major story beats around it. However, much of the story itself was written around the line “I feel something, I think it’s unconditional love”. This helped me develop the personalities and motivations of my characters. My ultimate goal was to avoid making the story too complicated or adding too many characters/scenes. There’s a setting, an inciting incident, a climax, and a resolution, but each can only be contained in a few sentences. 

WOW: What a great approach. What inspires you to write magical realism? 

Jordan: While in college, I took a course in magical realism in which we studied works from popular authors in the genre (such as Franz Kafka and Gabriel García Márquez). I began to love the idea of framing stories in a way that is based in reality and adds a fantastical element, instead of rooting a story in the fantasy genre entirely. It helps to shift focus to how the humans in that scenario react to that fantastical element, generally with a more cynical approach towards humanity interacting with what we don’t understand. That blur between fantasy and reality is what I want to incorporate within my own writing, while taking a more humorous approach to the cynicism that magical realism often portrays.

WOW: I love that combination too! What are you working on now that you can tell us about? 

Jordan: I am writing a series of short stories in the humor/magical realism/adventure genres, under the overall title Monomyth. Each story will be published on my Medium account: Monomyth is based within a world in which mysterious “veils” have begun to open out of thin air, releasing magical artifacts and animals into our world - or taking something (or someone) into theirs. In response, individuals from America (along with the U.S. government), start a company called Monomyth, which employs “adventurers” from around the country to find the veils and document their findings in order to study magical elements unknown to our world. Sometimes these investigations are harmless, but other times they’re exceedingly dangerous. A part of these stories will be standalone occurrences, while others tell the overarching story of four Monomyth employees and their adventures discovering otherworldly phenomena across a fairly realistic world.

WOW: That s sounds so amazing and creative. Thank you so much for joining us and congrats again on your story.


Angela Mackintosh said...

Jordan ~ I love your story! It's interesting to hear about your inspiration and metaphor. Very clever, and such a fun read. I'll check out Monomyth. Good luck with your series!

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