Ask Our (Brand New!) Editors: Elizabeth Wade

What first drew you to NANO Fiction?

I discovered NANO Fiction while living at a friend’s house for several weeks. He kept an issue on the kitchen bookshelf, so I walked past it daily. I didn’t read it then, but the cover image stayed with me, so I sought it out. The content definitely rewarded my attention, but that first attraction was all visual.

Who are the writers (flash fiction or otherwise) that you most admire?

I adore the work of NANO Fiction contributor Brian Oliu. I’m also a big fan of Roxane Gay. I return to certain texts often: Beth Ann Fennelly’s poems, Ruth Reichl’s memoirs, D. A. Powell’s “Reaching Around For You,” William Dickey’s”A Kindness,” and Yeats’s “Sailing to Byzantuim.” The latter’s a poem Maxine Kumin made me memorize years ago in my first poetry workshop. At nineteen, I hated it, but the older I get, the more I see it as a gift Kumin gave me.

If you had nothing to do with reading/writing, what would you be doing?

I actually don’t like thinking about this, because I believe the answer’s pretty bleak. When I do consider it, though, I think of my younger brother Austin, whose 2010 death–and the tumultuous months leading to it–I’ve written about extensively. It’s far too simplistic to argue that writing and reading are a panacea for the chaos of the world. But they’ve sustained me through a number of difficulties, offering distraction and challenge; characters to emulate and avoid; the chance to fashion a world, even if it’s fictional. They’ve also given me license to, as Dickinson said, “Dwell in possibility.” People find these things in a number of outlets, of course, but for me, it’s always been the written word. I’m not brave enough to think too deeply about where I’d be without that sustenance.

When it comes to submissions, what are you looking for?

I tend to favor the lyric. I want to be startled and moved.

What does your perfect day look like?

For me, this isn’t about where I am or what I’m doing–what really matters is being with people I love. If I’m feeling greedy, I’d have us sharing a meal and watching sports–probably college football or professional wrestling.