LISP 2023 Flash Fiction Finalist 'My Recovering-Addict Phone Buddy Talks to Her Dog' by Lisa K. Buchanan
- Can you please tell us about you and your daily life. How about just today and just my writing life? I studied two flash pieces and a craft essay (all by other people) in preparation for tomorrow's discussion with a friend and colleague of thirty years. I looked online for a course in haiku, because I think the form and imagery could train a new writing muscle. I read another flash essay by a colleague I don't know well, but have been conversing with online for a couple of weeks; for me, this is the main purpose of social media. I worked on a story (mostly refining the title) and on this interview. When I return to my writing tonight, I might revisit a prompt from a recent webinar: Write about someone you hate, but do it with love. My writings can be found here: www.lisakbuchanan.com - When and how did you get into writing? When I was nine years old, a teacher read my description of a snowman aloud to the class and highlighted my use of metaphor (a term I did not yet know). In place of the imaginings I had lost by then about my true princesshood, the sentience of my plastic dolls, and the cosmic justice that would avenge all playground bullies, I discovered I could make things happen on a page. For example, one word could reveal the magic in another, and the combination could create a lasting visual image. Actually, it astonishes me still.
- How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?I write almost daily and don't hold out for perfect conditions. I also write without a keyboard when I'm taking a walk or falling asleep. - How does it feel to have your work recognised?
One award, publication, or thoughtful reader's comment makes me happy for a year. Initially, I keep the good news to myself and walk around with a village-idiot grin. After that, I try to use the opportunity to connect with other writers. A poet-stranger once mentioned an essay of mine on social media simply because it was next to his on the published page. I've since followed his example by mentioning other writers' pieces when posting links to my own.
- What's the best and most challenging thing about writing a Story? Translating an experience into a form and a voice is the heart of my work and I enjoy it immensely. - 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? During the pandemic, I volunteered for a nonprofit serving a uniquely isolated population. Most had suffered homelessness, abuse, addiction, and/or physical and mental health challenges. This particular phone buddy had suffered all of them. I believe my most valuable contribution was that I could listen and she could be heard. All of the story's words were spoken to me verbatim, but in more than one conversation and not in the order they appear on the page. - Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Story?
Trust the soup. Sometimes, my abandoned stories return to the front burner years later to be tasted again and finally finished. - Lastly, do you recommend the writers submit to LISP?