Five Questions with Meg Pokrass
NANO Fiction‘s Sophie Rosenblum talks with Meg Pokrass about her new project, To Voice, dealing with haters, and animal readers.
Sophie Rosenblum: Tell us about To Voice. What is it, and why should people consider donating?
Meg Pokrass: To Voice is a project for writers who can’t read their own work on video or are uncomfortable reading their own work on video. Our project’s mission is to have their work read for them. Conditional realities prevent many writers from reading their own work.
To Voice (which is just beginning) has so far showcased the work of authors Murray Dunlap and Tiff Holland.
To Voice is an important project for the writing community. It is about evening the playing field for those who have been thrown a curve ball.
Both Murray and Tiff’s readings were created over a year ago, when the idea first occurred to me to help. In both cases their story videos increased exposure to their fine, fine work…both ended up finding publishers for their manuscripts and have new books coming out.
You’ll get a sense of my personal reason for wanting to do this in the very short video at the IndiGoGo site.
SR: I learned about To Voice via Twitter; what role do you think social media plays in promoting your project(s)?
MP: Social media has been and will continue to be everything to this campaign. Without it, there would be no way to share the campaign with a large community of writers who care about the same things; there is no other way to spread this type of targeted message. Even our author videos will be seen through social media venues.
MP: There are less “haters” now than when I was quoted, if I said that directly… At first, it felt like a threat to the status quo, I’m sure. I believe it is a non-issue now, as portable reading devices are proliferating and we are all coming to accept that bigger is not better! In MFA programs, flash fiction is often now both studied and taught. I’ve heard directly from professors of creative writing that they are bringing it to their students with enthusiasm.
Advice for writers of flash fiction:
1. Don’t quit your day job.
2. Read great writers of flash fiction and here is a mini-list: Lydia Davis, James Robison, Jeff Landon, Grant Bailie, Len Kuntz, Lydia Copeland, Tara Masih, Molly Giles, Pamela Painter, Thaisa Frank, Aimee Bender, Miranda July.
3. Read prose poetry and here is a VERY mini-list: Bob Hicok, Dorianne Laux, Sam Rasnake Russel Edson.
4. Read the short story writer/novelist Brad Watson. His collection, Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives is necessary reading for any writer. Read Amy Hempel. Read Frederick Barthelme. Read Pam Houston, Francine Prose, early Lorrie Moore, Aimee Bender, Mona Simpson.
SR: Your bio says you live with seven animals. Which is the best editor? The best reader? The best muse?
MP: Dog “Ben” – best reader – never says anything, just sniffs for the truth and then sleeps and dreams; Fat cat “Cream” – Muse! She is so large she falls off the sofa and reminds me that we are all beautiful in our klutziness; uhm.. Editor – husband. Is he an animal? Yes he is!
SR: What can we look forward to from Meg Pokrass?
MP: I have a new collection of Flash fiction out now called Damn Sure Right from Press 53. That is what I am putting energy into now, doing readings and getting the word out. Long live flash! I edit the new Mississippi Review called BLIP Magazine for Frederick Bartheleme. I look forward to all the issues. I’m associate producing a film by academy award-nominated Eugene Corr called “From Ghost Town to Havana”. (Please visit: http://playtwopictures.com).
I am imagining the idea of writing a novel.