Bill Trippe–Interview

Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?

I have a small office next to my attic. It’s a very old house and a very modest office, but I have a table to write and shelves for my books.

What kind of materials do you use? Do you write by hand or type? What is your favorite writing utensil?

I do almost everything on the computer. I maintain files of story ideas, then build from that. In writing workshops (including some I facilitate) I write in a few favorite notebooks, always in pen, as I hate the feel of pencil for some reason.

What is your routine for writing?

I work full-time, so I write in the early morning. I try to get an hour in each weekday then perhaps two hours on one of the weekend days. I have to use some of that time for submissions and correspondence, so it’s not all productive writing time.

How long have you been writing? When did you start writing?

I have been writing since college, which I started 40 years ago this month. I did a BA in English and an MA in Writing, but then raised a family. While I did quite a bit of professional writing over those years, including co-writing two technical books, I only returned to creative writing in earnest in November of 2014. I finished a novel and have written a number of short stories in that time.

Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you write for?

I imagine someone who, like me, loves short fiction especially. I read widely, but nothing is more satisfying to read than a well-crafted short story. I hope that my stories evoke that kind of response in my reader.

What inspires you to write? If you are blocked, what do you do?

I look for germs of stories all of the time, including in my reading, anecdotes I hear about, things in the news. The story here, “First Day,” was inspired in part by something that happened to a teacher I know but then I took the action of the story much further. If I am blocked, I read old newspapers and look for some interesting story or detail. The opportunities are endless.

What other things do you do besides writing? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?

I sing choral music and have begun to sing with an a capella group. It’s fun but it’s also a new intellectual challenge, honestly. It forces me to think in a way I rarely have.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

I like thinking through the arc of the story—who the characters are and what is propelling the action of the story. When I find something that I think is real and compelling about them, I feel that I can move the story along. It’s very satisfying though sometimes it involves a lot of sitting and staring at the wall.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

I think we all have rich experiences and ideas to tap into. When I teach writing, I encourage students to mine their experiences and to find the stories in them. As to the publishing process, prepare for things to take a long time and to get many rejections before you find places that will publish your work. If it helps to have a community of writers, seek one out. There are many venues.

 

Check out Bill’s work in the issue Volume 3, Issue 2 (Pushcart Nominee).

 

 

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Announcing The Magnolia Review Ink Award for Volume 3 Issue 2

When I was kindly asked by Suzanna to be the judge for the ink award for the Volume 3 Issue 2 of the Magnolia Review I replied, I’ll give it a go. I thought picking a winner would be easy enough. Sure, I’d have a winner in no time. But as I read the first piece, a concrete poem, “Early Spring in the Woods” by Wilda Morris, I realised picking a winner wouldn’t be so easy.
 
I continued to read with the theme balloons featuring strongly. The writing interspersed with Leah Givens‘ beautiful colour photographs of balloons. I continued to read. Who would have thought balloons would bring up so much? There were notable reads like the comic, “The Book Harvest” (Dom Fonce, writer; Vincent Butka, penciller; Jared Burton, inker and colorist; and Kaleena Spackman, letterer), complete with word balloons. The haunting “Ghosts” by Rachel Edford. “First Day” by Bill Trippe had me invested in the characters and bursting out laughing. “Hypnophobia2 #1357″ by Ellie White shocked and lingered.
 
But the one piece of writing that really struck me was “Breakthismf.com.” The story never loses sight of what it’s about, broken, complex characters. “Breakthismf.com” really engaged me as a reader, paying wonderful attention to detail and character. At times it is not what is said but implied that works so well. It’s full of humour and at the same time, the story never loses sight of real life and the people in it. 
 
So yes, drumroll please, the Magnolia Review Ink Award goes to Buffy Shutt for “Breakthismf.com.” An excellent, thought-provoking piece of writing! Thanks to Buffy for such an engaging read and thanks to all the authors for putting their writing out there for us to read. Thank you for such a good issue.
Taidgh Lynch is a poet from the South West of Ireland. When he is not attending the MFA in Writing programme at the University of Saskatchewan, he likes to eat sushi, cycle, and go to gigs. His absolute all time favourite writer is Elisabeth Bishop. Find his writing in Bare Hands Poetry,The Poetry Bus, and Boyne Berries.
Read the Volume 3 Issue 2 here.

2017 Pushcart Nominations

I am so proud of our 2017 issues, and it was very difficult to choose only six pieces for the Pushcart Nominations. Congratulations!

The Old Familiar (Equivalencies 7=7) by Devon Balwit (Volume 3, Issue 1)

Fred, Half Dead, Beethoven In His Head by Holly Day (Volume 3, Issue 1)

In A Dark Time by Kirie Pedersen (Volume 3, Issue 1)

First Day by Bill Trippe (Volume 3, Issue 2)

Hypnophobia #1357 by Ellie White (Volume 3, Issue 2)

Breakthismf.com by Buffy Shutt (Volume 3, Issue 2)

 

Volume 3, Issue 2

The issue is available The Magnolia Review Volume 3 Issue 2.

Contributors: Steve Abbott, Charles Joseph Albert, Danny P. Barbare, Gary Beck, Roy Bentley, Les Bernstein, Robert Beveridge, Rana Bitar, Jared Burton, Vincent Butka, Roger Camp, Samantha Chasse, Linda M. Crate, Vivi Davis, Wendy DeGroat, Darren C. Demaree, Laura Dennis, Rachel Edford, Dom Fonce, Leah Givens, Roberta Gould, John Grey, Ben Groner III, Jack Harvey, Ed Higgins, Hailey Hudson, Mark Hudson, James Croal Jackson, Leland James, Ingrid Jendrzejewski, Sarah Key, Rosaleen Lynch, Stephanie Maldonado, Thomas Maurstad, Joan McNerney, Jesse Minkert, Wilda Morris, Brian Orth, Simon Perchik, Richard King Perkins II, Tim Philippart, Meg Reynolds, John Timothy Robinson, Ruth Sabath Rosenthal, Buffy Shutt, Kaleena Spackman, Ethel Stirman, Larry D. Thacker, Bill Trippe, John Tustin, and Ellie White.

Reviews: The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo, The Red Book: (or Operation Iraqi Freedom is My Fault) by Brandon Davis Jennings, Joining the Dots by Goirick Brahmachari, and Scattered Cranes by Guinotte Wise.

Winner of The Magnolia Review Ink Award to be announced.

Samantha Chasse-Interview

Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?

I almost exclusively work from home.  Working in public spaces makes me feel self-conscious, so having my own little niche at home is much more comfortable.  Usually my space consists of a mug of coffee (usually getting cold because I can’t type and drink), my dog resting her chin on my leg begging to be pet, and the TV on so I can listen to cooking shows while I work.  I generally write when I’m home alone so there isn’t a lot of extraneous noise.

What kind of materials do you use? Do you write by hand or type? What is your favorite writing utensil?

I write out notes by hand and then type the actual story, poem or script on the computer.  I have a legal pad filled with scribbled story ideas which I sometimes archive in Google Docs if I think a certain one is worth continuing.  I have an old laptop that I use almost exclusively for writing because my newer laptop’s keys are too small to type quickly on.

What is your routine for writing?

Usually when I have an idea I want to flesh out I have to do it ASAP or I will forget where I wanted to take the story.  It generally takes me a while before I generate and idea I want to run with, maybe about a month, and then I sit down and write the whole draft in a few hours.  Once I write the first draft, which is a rough rough draft, I will spend the next few weeks adding on and editing until I have a solid first draft.  From there I try to get a few people to proof read, edit some more, and repeat.

How long have you been writing? When did you start writing?

I started writing stories and scripts in high school when I took an English class that focused on Utopias.  We read so many excellent tales; I wanted to create pieces like these so badly. Unfortunately, I was embarrassed to show people my work or tell anyone I was writing.   I didn’t tell anyone about my passion for writing except my Aunt who was going through chemo.  Her passing lead me to start sharing my work, because I had promised her I would keep going with my passion.  In college I fell in love with playwriting, and I have kept going since.

Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you write for?

I find that I write mostly for those who are willing to think about life in a new way.  I find college students and older adults tend to be most interested in my work, as the themes are often a bit much for younger audiences.

What inspires you to write? If you are blocked, what do you do?

I draw inspiration from people who confuse me.  I remember taking a college class on drug addiction, and I wanted to wrap my mind around how something could control a persons life so strongly.  I wrote a play trying to delve into the mind of a person who is an addict, and I learned a lot about what they go through.  Writing helps me explore topics I am interested in understanding on a deeper level, so I usually write about psychological issues or topics that might be “taboo” or personal.

I have the worst time with writer’s block, but I find that reading or listening to music can help me jump start my brain again.  If that doesn’t work I will sit down and talk with people about life and what is happening in the world.  Usually they will say something that sparks and idea.

What other things do you do besides writing? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?

I have never been apt at sports, but I have a huge admiration for theater.  I was a theater major in college and I spent most of my time working on our school productions.  I started working in theater over the summers in high school.  I would help with set painting and assist the actors with costumes, etc.  In college I stage managed quite a few productions and helped to organize two theater festivals.  I also worked in two professional theaters as part of the run crew and as a costume assistant.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

My favorite part of the creative process is when I get to the end of the editing process, and I know a piece is finally where I want it.  The satisfaction of creating a finished piece of literature is immense.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

My advice is to never be embarrassed or hold yourself back.  If you love to write, you can succeed at writing, but only if you keep at it.  I spent a very long time being scared to fail, and scared to share because of it.  The first time I had to have a class reading of one of my scripts I was terrified, but I soon realized that we are all in this together and the writing community is quite supportive.  Never, ever feel like your words aren’t worth sharing.

 

Check out Samantha’s work in the issue, Volume 3, Issue 1 and Volume 3, Issue 2.

 

Ellie White

Ellie White holds an MFA from Old Dominion University. She writes poetry and nonfiction, and is the creator of the online comic strip “Uterus & Ellie.” Her work has appeared in Antiphon Poetry Magazine, Harpur Palate, Tincture and several other journals. Ellie’s chapbook, Requiem for a Doll, was released by ELJ Publications in June 2015. She is a nonfiction editor at Four Ties Literary Review, and the Social Media Editor for Muzzle Magazine. She currently lives near some big rocks and trees outside Charlottesville, Virginia.

Hypnophobia #1357, Volume 3, Issue 2 (Pushcart Nomination)