LISP 2nd Half 2021 Flash Fiction Winner, 'Colour Fluent'
by Rebecca Klassen
Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?
I live with my Mexican Canadian husband and our two young boys whose extra-curricular activities take up most of our evenings. We used to live in Australia, but now we live a short walk from the cheese rolling hill in Gloucester. I work with Scott Editorial as an editor, which is the best job because I get to read books all day. My pet axolotl, Sheldon, keeps me company.
When and how did you get into writing?
Nine years ago, I took an evening writing class at the local college. I met wonderful poet Judith Green who brought me into her writers’ group. This supportive and creative bunch encouraged me to submit my work for publication. A win in a local magazine and a prize at the Coleford Festival of Words gave me confidence to complete a Creative Writing MA. During this time my short stories were published in several anthologies. I have won the Stroud Short Stories competition and read my work at Stroud Book Festival and the Cheltenham Literature Festival.
How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?
Not as often as I would like, but I think a huge part of writing is forming your stories in your head, so by that justification, I write every day. When it’s fully formed, I have to write it, so a late night is usually involved. I’m usually inspired by something someone’s said. My son’s friend, Eve said to me, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if a baby was born with clothes on?’ That story was published in The Phare, so Eve definitely deserved some Haribo for her inspiration.
How does it feel to have your work recognised?
It feels wonderful. I’m incredibly touched that someone else saw the poignancy of this story.
What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about writing a story?
The best things are the initial inspiration, and for me as an editor, scything my story to fit a word count. My original word count for Colour Fluent was over a thousand words. I love making every word count. The most challenging I find is sticking to a theme. I’m still learning to pause and say to myself, ‘What is this story really about?’
How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected story? Is there a story behind your story?
My story is based on the suicide of my mum in 2021, which has left us heartbroken. The narrative examines our anticipation of how children will receive something because we impose our own anxieties on the situation. They can interpret something so much more creatively and simply than we can.
Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Story?
Read the stories you’d want to write and take any literary learning opportunity with both hands. Most importantly, put yourself among great writers. I’m incredibly lucky to have learned from many talented writers and been given some excellent opportunities that I hope I can pay forward one day.
What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions?
The best thing is publication. I like holding my story in a book or seeing it online. The most challenging, I’ve recently discovered, is entering a competition with an unusual brief (I recently entered some pieces where the genre was horror, and the word count was 206 words exactly) and not being able to reuse the story for another competition without a severe revamp.
Lastly, do you recommend the writers give a go on LISP?
Absolutely! I opened the winners list to look for my friends’ names. I didn’t expect to see my name, so go for it; you might surprise yourself.