Kathy Fish and I are thrilled that Jeffrey Spahr-Summers is going to be joining us in Colorado this August for our Flash Fiction Summer Camp in the Rockies! I chat with Jeffrey a bit about his process, his writing, and his advice for writers, and the meaning of “truth” in art.
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?
Jeffrey Spahr-Summers: I’m an undisciplined writer. I do most of my writing in bits and pieces on the run. Poetry and flash fiction suit me in that respect. I find that I am more disciplined with photography.
NS: Tell us about your relationship to flash fiction?
JSS: I have written poetry for over 40 years. About four or five years ago I started writing short memoir stories, once there I turned to flash fiction. I am still experimenting and learning the craft.
NS: What piece of your own writing are you most proud of? Where could we read it (if it’s available)?
JSS: My favorite is a poem called, “Talk About my Girl’, which can be found in my book, ‘Until Their Bellies Bulge and Shine’. It was also printed in a literature magazine called, ‘Hammers’, in the early 1990’s. The poem can also be found on my website.
NS: You have published several books–what have you learned from that process?
JSS: Proofreading. Proofreading. Proofreading. Writing the book is only the beginning of the work. Books seem to grow along with you.
NS: You live in Colorado already–have you been to Grand Lake before? What are you most looking forward to at our writerly summer camp?
JSS: I haven’t been to Grand Lake since I was a child. I’m looking forward to the retreat to nature and the opportunity to interact with other writers.
NS: React to this quote by Gustave Flaubert: “Of all lies, art is the least untrue.” What do you think about the “truth” of art?
JSS: I think the truth in art lies in what compels us to create art in the first place, or to create certain pieces, as it were.
NS: Tell us something we don’t know about you?
JSS: I have moved 44 times, between 24 cities or towns, in my life.
NS: Anything else you want to add?
JSS: I am grateful to be participating in this retreat.
Jeffrey Spahr-Summers is a poet, writer, photographer, digital artist, publisher, and editor living in Boulder, Colorado.