This semester the English and Creative Writing department of Widener University got the opportunity to meet flash fiction writer Sherrie Flick. Editor of the Blue Route Stefan Cozza had the chance to interview her about her craft and works from one of her flash fiction collections~ Ciana Bowers
Interview with Sherrie Flick conducted by Stefan Cozza:
1.) For many, flash fiction is an intimidating genre to tackle. You have many in “Thank your Lucky Stars,” but there are also non-flash pieces of short fiction. What is the process going into writing a piece like “Open and Shut,” versus “Home,” and “Trees.” I am personally fascinated with how much can be said with as few words as possible. I love your narrative heavy pieces, but in a way, your short pieces evoke this mood and tone that I cannot shake. How do you differentiate whether a particular spot in the collection is better suited for a story with a clearer trajectory like “Lenny the Suit Man” versus a “7:23 p.m?”
a. “Open and Shut took years to draft, and it goes all the way back to 1997. It was consistently worked on, complicated, and layered with different characters. These stories drafted through exercises, constraints to write in small spaces be evocative with space and image. A lot of these micro pieces are crafted like a still life and they usually require less revision.
2.) This is very much in a similar vein to my previous question, but I find it relevant and intriguing, nonetheless. You have a few composite flashes in this collection, my personal favorite being “Garden Inside.” What makes a narrative suitable for this experimental form? How do you choose which specific scenes to depict that will add to the overall tone and trajectory?
a. Each section is its own contained story. You get a story putting them together, but each piece has the power to stand alone. They were originally written as part of a collaborative exhibition with the photographer Sue Abramson and displayed as text panels on the gallery walls. They were written with a slightly different purpose than flash fiction. My end goal is not always to connect the pieces. For “Garden Inside,”
I was heavily motivated by Abramson’s visual art and was challenged to put words to photographs.
b. Also, there was a revelation that came with learning about chapter breaks while writing my novel and the possibilities they offer. One minute you’re in one place and you turn the page, and the next you’re somewhere completely different. Transitional phrases are not as necessary in composite flashes. I treat the section breaks as punctuation.