When did you first feel like a writer?
A few years ago my dad let me listen to a tape recording he made when I was a child. It’s of me telling him about a dream I had the night before: I found a stick and whatever I point that stick at turns into the color I want… The recording goes on for a long time, and eventually it becomes clear I’m lying. I drag it on, ham it up. Listening to that recording made me realize telling stories might be something I was born with. As for feeling like a writer, I don’t know when that hit me. Maybe when I first got published.
What’s your philosophy about teaching a writing class?
I come to the classroom with the understanding that teaching creative writing, or being taught it, is a paradox. Craft-based discussions are what I prefer. I like to work and critique at the sentence level. I believe the DNA of a great story can be found in one line. My goal in any writing class is to work as an ideal editor—someone who is a friend of the text and can help the story do what it wants to do.
If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be and why?
That’s a hard question. I feel like I’ve met, or at least seen, a few of my favorites. The ones that come to mind immediately are all people that I’d probably get in trouble with. I’d like to meet Uncle Trash—a character in Mark Richard’s short story “Strays”—just because that’s what my brother calls me. Huck Finn would be a hoot.