Bruce Meyer, LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection, Short Story and Flash Fiction
LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection, Flash Fiction, 'The Trailer' by Bruce Meyer
LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Official Selection, Short Story, 'Flight' by Bruce Meyer
Can you tell us about your daily life? Right now I am sedentary but that has not stopped me from writing. I am a professor of Communications at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario. I have 170 students, all online. It has been that way for over a year now. I don't mind it. The best students are the ones who are self-motivating. I have also been the subject of a course in Publishing at the University of Windsor where a group of student interns for Black Moss Press who were part of the Publishing Practicum published (completely virtually without ever being in the same room) a new book of my poems, book #66, Grace of Falling Stars. I write to keep my mind focused and my spirits up. The pandemic has given me the opportunity to complete fourteen new books and I have a few more on the way. I write poetry, short fiction, flash fiction, and non-fiction and have had three national bestsellers in Canada.
When did you start writing? I taught myself to read at the age of three, wrote my first poem at five, and my first book of short stories at the age of six. I cannot remember a time when I didn't write. I am addicted writer. Every day I have to write something. Writing provides a kind of world for me where I am my own boss, where any problems I create are problems I can work at to solve. It is a wonderful world inside my head, and going there I meet solace, interesting people, visit incredible places, and jump temporally from one moment to another. Writing is bliss.
How does it feel to have your work recognized? The recognition is just coming now. Back in the late 80s, I couldn't pay someone to publish a word I wrote. I was writing work that remains cogent and artistically sound, but I wasn't in step with my time. I carried a quote in my wallet from Thelonius Monk, the jazz pianist, who said "Play your own way. Don't play the way people tell you to play. Play your own way and eventually they'll catch on even if it takes them twenty or thirty years." Recognition has been slow to come. I had decades when I felt forgotten but I kept writing. Those decades taught me to listen to my own heart, reason with my own head, and do things that others weren't doing because everyone else was doing the same thing. I wasn't wrong then and events are proving that now.
Can you share a few tips about writing flash fiction? Yes. Keep the idea simple. Keep it focused on a thought, an image, a single action. Chekhov used that technique. Then cut out the verbiage. I usually lop off the beginning of a story. Many writers write their way into a story. That entree isn't necessary. Cut it out. Lop off the ending, too. Paul Muldoon's poetry teaches us that poems can be open-ended. Stories can do that as well.
The best thing and the hardest thing about writing competitions? Winning. I keep coming second to fifth in just about every competition I enter. Therein lies the problem. I don't win but I place or show. My wife says I am consistently one of the best writers living because I keep finishing in the top group but I am never THE best writer. It would be nice to take home the roses one day. Yes. I recommend LISP to other writers. I work with dozens of writers. I'm a substantive editor for poetry and fiction books and I'm often asked where should they send their work. LISP is on the top of my list.