LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection Short Story Bulletin Board by Andrea E Holck @AndreaHolck
Can you please tell us about your daily life? At the moment I've just had a baby, so my daily life has been entirely overhauled by a tiny tyrant. Before that I was (and will be again!) a doctoral researcher looking into the intersection of dementia, literature, and creative writing at City, University of London, where I also teach.
When did you start writing? How often do you write? I suppose I started writing when I was myself a tiny tyrant. At about seven years old, I wrote an anthology about my classmates, bound it in yellow construction paper, covered it in stickers and tied it together with some pink yarn. My teacher let me read one story out loud for the class every day before we all filed out to catch the bus. That teacher inspired "Bulletin Board." Now, I try to write every day, but it doesn't always happen of course. My writing has been in Popshot, Like the Wind and Litro Mag. I also received second place for the Orwell Dystopian Fiction Prize in 2020. I'm currently shopping around a collection of stories about life in the Midwest of America. It's a weird and glorious place. More should be said about it. How does it feel to have your work recognised? Fantastic, obviously, thank you so much! What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Short Story? Knowing what's made it onto the page, I suppose. My fantastic former mentor, Kirsty Logan, used to ask me, "What is this story about?" a question I loathed mostly because it seemed very obvious that I should be able to articulate the answer easily, having written the thing. I could not. After bumbling through some vague descriptions, she'd often respond, "That sounds great, but I'm not sure that's what you've written." Learning to see what's there and what's only in your head--or what's there, but should have remained in your head--is something I'll always be working on. It's a sort of mental gymnastics. How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it? It was inspired by my own teacher back in Catholic school in Wisconsin. And though it's entirely fiction, it is also based on my friendship with a boy who joined our class after fleeing Vietnam with his family. Can you please give us a few tips about writing a short story? My number one rule for myself is this: Don't get precious about it. Cut, delete, rewrite, throw away. Then, take it to the readers and listen to what they say. Listen especially for those things that make you say, yeah, I knew that. I often know what's wrong with a piece before someone tells me, and I'm just hoping no one notices. Someone will always notice. Cut, fix, fiddle til the nagging goes away. (Though it never really does, does it?) What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing competitions? Not knowing the taste of the people on the other end is tough. Choosing which piece to send is difficult as well. The best thing: Reading your fellow winners and feeling like you're in great company. Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on LISP? Of course!