“Since I was a kid, I have obsessed over details, small or large – details hook me in.”
Flush Me Freddy (Black Lawrence Press, 2012)
Could you share with us a representative or pivotal piece from your chapbook? Perhaps something that introduces the work of the chapbook, or that invites the reader into the world of the chapbook?
One of my favorite excerpts is, “Still, I couldn’t find ways to care. The guilt ate at me like a cactus on my tongue.”
Why did you choose this piece?
In one short sentence, it details the amount of emotion and complexity this short story contains.
What are some of your favorite chapbooks? Or what are some chapbooks that have influenced your writing?
Paul Auster always comes to mind – he writes novels that capture life in the raw and I love the mystery behind each of the characters as well. My newest obsession is Kate Zambreno, who wrote the chapbook Toilet Bowl: Some notes on why I write – just brilliant and worth reading a million times.
What might these favorite or influential chapbooks suggest about you and your writing?
I enjoy the wit and the simplicity behind something so complicated. They keep me engaged and make life that much easier to deal with.
What obsessions led you to write your chapbook?
Since I was a kid, I have obsessed over details, small or large – details hook me in. This is how I write. In my writing, I never name my characters – this is something called micro-fiction. It brings that needed mystery to the story that all readers seek. As for character names – most everyone associates a name with an experience – bad or good. I wanted to eliminate that as best as I could by giving the reader the opportunity to name the character based on their memory, feelings, and/or experiences.
What’s your chapbook about?
It is a story about how certain moments in our life can change. During intricate moments readers find themselves lost within the story of the nameless characters and their lives. The message is profound while seeing the lives of the characters through the eyes of their subconscious.
How did you decide on the arrangement and title of your chapbook?
I remember reading an article announcing Italy banning goldfish in tiny bowls. I thought to myself that’s exactly how my readers should feel when they read Flush Me Freddy. The correlation of this and my story was perfect, so that was how I thought of not only the ending but the name of the chapbook.
Which section in your chapbook has the most meaningful back story to you? What’s the back story?
Everything I write has some significance to my own life. I break it up into bite-size chunks and write what I perceive, did, should, or could have happened. It makes my own memories stay alive and it’s how most writers, I believe, deal with life.
What has the editorial and production experience with the press who picked up your chapbook been like? To what degree did you collaborate on the cover image and design of your chapbook?
Black Lawrence Press is a terrific small press that really prides itself in great literature. The collection of stories is fantastic, and knowing that I am apart of such an elite, small publisher makes me feel proud of my work and those authors that are a part of the Black Lawrence family.
What are you working on now?
A longer novel that is a spin-off of Flush Me Freddy and also, hopefully, finishing my children’s book. While I was in the process of finishing the children’s book – I had such great feedback from Flush Me Freddy that I started drafting something and it decided to take shape. I am excited for both but have to focus on finishing one to start another project!
What advice would you offer to students interested in creative writing?
As I said before, the best piece of advice I received was to write what you know. When I was younger, that was hard to understand and I always wanted to force my writing into a direction that I was not extremely knowledgeable about. The more I read, I realized that advice was the most important advice I received. Therefore, keep reading everything you can and most of all take your knowledge and experience and write about it – and never, ever stop.
Angela Ambrosini is a New York-based creative director and writer and with an M.A. in Photo Journalism and Graphic Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Her fiction, articles, and book reviews have appeared in Focus Magazine, Arabesques Review, and The New York Resident.