Disclaimer: Sally Reno and I did not actually have tea during this interview, but we have had tea many, many times in more than a decade of work together. Sally is one of the most insightful writers I know and my go-to for feedback on my own work. So naturally Kathy Fish and I are just thrilled that she will be joining us this August in Breckenridge for our first flash fiction retreat!
Nancy Stohlman: The biggest challenge most writers have is finding the time to write. How do you “retreat” in your day-to-day life in order to honor your creativity?
Sally Reno: A workshop retreat to a gorgeous spot, a solitary cabin in the woods, a house-sit with views, a borrowed beach house—all are bliss. But for me, to negotiate effectively with Time, writing must also be a daily fact of life. I write most of first drafts in my head and keep stacks of notebooks around for impulsive scribbling. Whenever I can, I write in my sleep.
Nancy: You’re one of the co-producers of Blink Ink, a tiny print magazine publishing exclusively microfiction stories of around 50 words. What is your biggest learning from this endeavor?
Sally: We are always amazed by the surprising and wonderful things people send us and the lovely circumstance that we can always find new things to try. The Big Learn has been how expensive it is to produce a quality print lit mag, even a ‘tiny’ one.
Nancy: What piece of your own writing are you most proud of? Where can we read it?
Sally: It’s probably just a quirk in aid of forward motion but I’m always most excited about what I’m writing right now. I do still like some oldies. Most of my published writing is in print, so I have fewer links to offer. You can read my first Pushcart nomination (in under a minute) here:
Nancy: React to this quote by George Santayana: “To the art of working well a civilized race would add the art of playing well.”
Sally: Since I’m not a fan of civilization, I would say: No sane society, or one with any potential for joy, would make a distinction between work and play. Only a slave culture, like ours, segregates work from life and makes of that ‘work’ the only respected effort.
Nancy: Tell us something we don’t know about you?
Sally: I am a time traveler.
Nancy: Anything else you want to add?
Sally: Thank you for inviting me here. I had fun.
Sally Reno’s fiction is widely anthologized and s been among the winners of National Public Radio’s 3-Minute Fiction Contest and Dr. T. J. Eckleburg Review’s Prosetry Contest and has been nominated for Best Small Fictions and Pushcarts. Her microfiction has won Vestal Review’s 7-word caption contest, Fast Forward’s 6-word story contest and Radar’s 5-word movie review competition. She lives in a vapor cave with a big snake and serves as Pythoness for Blink Ink Print and Haruspex for Shining Mountains Press.