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Charisse J. Tubianosa, LISP 2022 Flash Fiction Finalist by 'The Basics of Vacillation'

LISP 2022 Flash Fiction Finalist 'The Basics of Vacillation' by Charisse J. Tubianosa

Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?

I was born in Manila, Philippines. I’m an economist by training, having spent close to 20 years doing research and development work which gave me the chance to travel extensively across Asia. Travel provides plenty of inspiration for my writing. Recently, I’ve been able to devote almost full-time to writing what I love the most—fiction. I’m now based in Barcelona, Spain, with my husband, immersing myself in my new home, but very much still a tropical island girl at heart.

When and how did you get into writing?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was nine years old, writing snippets of stories in the back pages of my school notebooks. I actually started an MA degree in creative writing but had to let that go for financial reasons. It was only when I moved to Barcelona and enrolled in a short writing course that I was able to get back on track with this dream. I also found support and encouragement from fellow writers in my adoptive city. My stories tackle themes related to identity, race, gender, and the immigrant experience. Some have been published in Spanglish Voces, Litbreak Magazine, and Sunspot Literary Journal. I’m also an alumna of Voices of Our Nation (VONA) Summer Workshop and Tin House Summer Workshop.

How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?

I try to write every day. Since I’m currently working on my first collection of short stories, the bulk of my time is spent on revisions and edits. It can be true that just committing to sitting down and write even when I don’t feel like it makes the process easier in the long run. But there are times when I also need to take a break, and I respect that period too—to recover and recharge. Reading is wonderful at igniting inspiration, and the book doesn’t always have to be related to my current project. Apart from literary fiction, I also read non-fiction, poetry, YA, historical fiction, science fiction, mystery, and romance. I always feel a delicious thrill whenever I step inside a bookstore.

How does it feel to have your work recognised?

Absolutely amazing! There are so many wonderful writers and to have the chance to be in the spotlight once in a while, whether it’s a long list, being published in a magazine, or selected to participate in a prestigious workshop, helps me survive the writerly roller-coaster of self-doubt and self-flagellation mixed with delusional bouts believing I’ve just come up a brilliant idea. Getting recognition is a spark of hope that there must be something I’m doing right.

What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about writing a Story?

The best thing is the opportunity given to world-building and bringing to life characters, to create a story that can touch or have an impact on another life, and someone somewhere can find relevance and meaning to something I’ve written. The most challenging thing is the revision process, moving from an idea and taking the first draft to the best possible version the story can be.

How did you develop the idea for your LISP-selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?

My story The Basics of Vacillation emerged from a prompt in a writing course about the pleasures of childhood. The movement of the swing became some sort of meditation about curve balls life can throw, about dilemmas, and how we can find anchor again. I had been working on this piece on and off for about a month before submitting it to LISP. It’s possible the story may go on because the characters are still stomping around in my head. Let’s see!

Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Story?

I’m a huge supporter of the advice to get the first draft out as fast as you can, without all the judgement and pressure on who’s going to read it. Just let the ideas flow on the blank page, start to finish. Let that draft rest for a bit. Then take your time rewriting and revising the story until you’re happy with it.

Lastly, do you recommend the writers submit their stories/screenplays to LISP?

Definitely! I’ve to admit I’ve grown wary about joining competitions from the trauma of rejections (though very much part and parcel of a writer’s life), but I thought I would try LISP. It’s now in the top 10 best decisions, my 2022 edition. This is the first time my flash fiction has ever been featured anywhere and I’m very very pleased my little piece made it as a finalist in this competition.



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