Twelve Days of Giving Reason Eight: NANO Was My First Publication – Todd Dillard

NANO Fiction: So NANO Fiction was your first publication. What issue were you featured in?

Todd Dillard: I was in the very first issue! And I have a vague recollection of being in the earliest marketing materials.

NF: Were you familiar with flash fiction before reading NANO? How did you first get interested in flash as a form?

TD: I discovered prose poetry in a forms class at University of Houston, which naturally lead me to flash fiction. (This was a couple of years before NANO launched.) I was fascinated with the form, how something specifically structured within a finite scale could seemingly have infinite methods and applications. Then I took Claudia Rankine’s workshop right after she published Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, and we read Sabrina Orah Mark’s beautiful collection The Babies, and my fascination turned to love. The next year I completed a thesis in flash fiction/prose poetry, and went off to graduate school with some obtuse notion that this would be the basis for my writing career.

NF: What’s one word that describes what it’s like getting published in NANO?

TD: Swooooooooon!

NF: How has your writing changed since your publication in NANO?

TD: For the longest time I wrote haunted by workshops, by this narrative that I needed to publish a book and secure tenure before I turned thirty or I would never be a creative writing professor. Then, after graduating, I realized I don’t want to be a professor! Oops. Since then, my creativity has exploded, and what I write is constantly changing and, to me at least, much more interesting. I’ve been a fitness blogger, written books of poems for children, finished early drafts of bizarre fantasy books (protagonists with balloons for heads, for example), written essays on gender roles and power in Nickelodien cartoons, and tweeted way too much, all in an effort to figure out what it is I want to write, what it is I have to say.

So I guess the short answer is: I’m still figuring this shit out. I imagine I’ll be trying the rest of my life.

(My first answer had something to do with no longer writing like a 7-11 Big Gulp Suicide and more like one of those half-cans of Coke. Go figure.)

NF: What can we expect next from Todd Dillard?

TD: Well, I won this grant from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in the “Contemporary Novel” category for this work-in-progress, so I imagine in the next year or so I’ll have a draft finished and I’ll start shopping it around. Another book of poems for children is in the works, and I’ve started a blog with my friend and fellow Sarah Lawrence College alumni Jamie Lee over at Otherwise, I’ll probably continue tweeting too much, write another Science Fiction novel, and possibly begin writing “The Last Avatar” fanfic. We’ll see!

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