TEN with David Erlewine
Posted on 20 April 2009
by J.S. Graustein
We’re thrilled to be halfway through our first fortnightly story (14 tweets) over at PicFic. David Erlewine is the brave soul that attempted this death-defying feat; a feat that subjected him to numerous re-write requests. But he (and we) survived to plant our flag “By Hand” at the top of the tweet-zine mountain. Poor David. He’d barely gotten home from his expedition when we banged on his door (and woke his kids from a nap) demanding an interview. And threatening to pitch our tent in his perfectly-manicured front lawn until he gave us one.
- What was the first book/poem/phrase that rocked your world? “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. I couldn’t pay attention in my ninth grade English class. I kept reading the last page over and over again. Really, I just kept reading the last sentence.
- Dr. Who picks you up in the Tardis. Where/when do you go? After he agrees to have the opening theme music piped in, we don’t go too far, somewhere I can be home in a few hours. Given my underwater mortgage, I can at least hang out there when I’m not working.
- What was your first published piece & where was it published? “The Yarmulke” was published in my college lit journal (Ohio Wesleyan Literary Magazine – The OWL) in 1994. My writing professor, Bob Flanagan, was so impressed that I’d actually written a story that he called me to say there’s hope for us all.
- Do you think the internet hurts or helps literature? Helps. Many folks I know who’d never pay a penny to order a print mag with my story in it will usually at least click on a link and tell me they read it. By joining Facebook, Zoetrope, Fictionaut, and by blogging, I’ve gotten in touch with many other writers. I can get many crits to stories in 24 hours from people all over the place. The idea of meeting up once a week at Joe’s basement seems hilarious.
- What about authors? I think it helps for the most part. In 2002-03, I used to pay a fortune on envelopes, paper, printer, ink, and stamps to mail most submissions out (I should have bought a mail weighing machine to cut down on post office time). Now, a great number of print/online journals allow e-subs. It makes that part of the “business” so much easier. Although I should add that I do plan to start subbing to some print journals that require regular mail subs. Some writers/editors/publishers badmouth the internet. I’m just having fun doing it this way right now.
- When the well is dry, how do you fill it? Usually, I just go pick up a good book or story and wait until something flashes. Or I think about something that’s troubled me over the years (something I did or failed to do) and that helps.
- Favorite writing tool? The quiet car on the train to/from work. No loud talking or cell phones are allowed. Snoring is, though.
- Your biggest fans just burst into the room. How many are there & how do you react? My Grandma Frieda comes into the room and asks if I’m working on a story. I give her a hug, like her favorite grandson should.
- Why did you submit to PicFic? I really like the concept of micro fiction. I’ve had some stories appear in Elimae and I love that kind of minimal writing. I’m not particularly interested or gifted at creating lush settings or describing people’s faces. I loved the 140-character restriction as well as the overall concept.
- Fill in the blank: In the expansive Literary Galaxy, I am: a lawyer, with two kids and a fat mortgage, who likes to write little stories and hopes one day to have a chap or short story collection published without funding it myself.
You can read more of David’s work by visiting his blog and clicking through his extensive list of published pieces. You can also catch the first half of “By Hand” on his archive page if you missed it last week. Now you’ll have to excuse us. Packing tents away is SOOOO much harder than setting them up!
Hi nice blog 🙂 I can see a lot of effort has been put in.
Erlewine is one of my favorite writers these days. And it’s largely because I can quickly access so much of his stuff online. Thanks for giving me a little more insight into how he thinks.
I read Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” back in 9th or 10th grade too. It haunts me to this day.
“The Lottery” is perhaps the first story that made me stop and want to read it again 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by to comment!