PicFic is very pleased to feature multiple works by Mel Bosworth. Mel is the first of our authors to be given the title “Regular Contributor” because his work will be published by us during three (or more) calendar months. His stories have appeared in Bartleby Snopes and Calliope, among many others–including an upcoming story in Shape of a Box. (You can find the whole list on his blog.) He is also the editor of Flash Fire 500, a literary e-zine. We flagged him down while he was driving around town and offered him Zebra Cakes. Then when his mouth was full, we held some chocolate milk just out of reach until he answered our questions.
- What was the first book/poem/phrase that rocked your world? I really liked Beowulf. I still do. When I first read it, it was new, bizarre, exciting, and oddly sensual. Everything a growing boy needs.
- Dr. Who picks you up in the Tardis. Where/when do you go? We just ride. That phone booth had a deceptively large interior. I always thought Dr. Who was a bit nutty, but the man knew how to travel in style.
- What was your first published piece & where was it published? I’d have to say it was a piece I wrote for the local newspaper during the summer of….oh, geez. Well, I was entering 6th grade. I managed to wrangle a weekly writing gig (a paying gig, no less) from June to August, I think. The papers are wrapped in plastic somewhere, so I’m not sure what my first piece was exactly, but the column ranged from everything to movie reviews to editorial pieces about aliens. I was probably watching a lot of Dr. Who on PBS at that time. Looking back, I’m amazed that I found my way into print so early. I long for those days. But not the deadlines. Having an editor breathing down your neck each week was a lot of stress for a kid. I think that’s when I stopped answering the phone. But I earned $15 a week. Not so bad. I don’t even come close to making that these days by writing. Yet.
- Do you think the internet hurts or helps literature? I think it helps. Print might struggle but it will never die, and I think the exposure and immediacy of the internet helps turn people on to things they might’ve otherwise passed over. The internet also opens the door to anyone with a voice. Twitter is a microcosm of what the internet actually is: a collective consciousness. Thoughts stream by from all over the world. Some people whine, some rejoice, some talk about what they had for lunch. Literature is a reflection of society, and the internet is an excellent resource for what may seem, at first glance, the disparate ramblings of morons, however, upon closer inspection, you see a story taking form. And it’s a story as old as life itself. We’re struggling. We’re trying to find our own peace and meaning and…truth. Was great literature produced pre-internet? Has it been produced post-internet? Absolutely, on both counts. Is the internet now requisite for producing great literature? No, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Things are constantly evolving, but the essence will always remain the same.
- What about authors? I think it’s a tremendous benefit for authors, simply in terms of exposure. When a piece of writing goes live on the introwebs, it is instantly available to the global community. Right now, I’m HUGE in the UK. In my neighborhood, not so much. Getting it out there is step one. Drumming up a steady readership is step two. While the internet offers people instant access, a lot of work still has to be done by the individual author to make sure readers are taking advantage of that access. Which reminds me- I still have to make bumper stickers.
- When the well is dry, how do you fill it? How else? Booze. Lots and lots of booze….Kidding….Music helps. Talking to live humans helps. Exercise helps. Writing letters helps. Breathing. Breathing is probably the best way to get the tap flowing again.
- Favorite writing tool? My keyboard. It used to be a pen, but I can’t read my own handwriting anymore.
- Your biggest fans just burst into the room. How many are there & how do you react? There are 7. I ask them what they’re doing here, and when they can’t come up with a good explanation, I kick them out. But not before shaking them down for Zebra Cakes.
- Why did you submit to PicFic? It was new, it was a fun challenge, and it captured, in my opinion, the way in which information is now digested: short bursts. PicFic is taking the loathsome McDonalds-ization of the world and twisting it into something far more virtuous. Snippets of beauty over greasy drive-thru burgers. Who ever said that instant gratification had to be all bad?
- In the expansive Literary Galaxy, I am: A dust particle with an exceptionally large mouth and imagination.
In case you missed a few of Mel’s stories, you will be able to catch them on his author archive page. And if you missed any of our other poets, you can link to their work from the PicFic page. And yes, we did give Mel his milk. In a glass, even.