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Honoring the Voices in Our Heads: Retreat Participant Lisa Trigg Shares a Micro

Do you have a character, a story, a voice that won’t let you go? Likely this is for a reason! Lisa Trigg, who will be joining us in Yviers, France for our French Connection Retreat , shares with us just such a voice in her micro below:

Hazel Currie Asks Who is that Talking?

by Lisa Trigg

Here I am, falling in love with exactly the wrong woman wondering how I have let this happen. And the voice said, in parentheses (well, this is how it works. You don’t know.  You just don’t know what you want until you have it in your arms, smiling up at you, cracking jokes at your books, all those shoes in your basement, how often your watch tells you to breathe and drink water, and how much you talk to Alexa. You start remembering things you never thought of or dreamt about or read in any of your books. Suck it up).

What I want to know is.  Who is it that talks in parentheses?  Just who is it?

 

Lisa has a whole series of “Hazel Currie” stories and explains her inspiration for them:

Hazel Currie started talking in my head when I was about 20 years old.  She tells me stories, points out things that I should pay attention to, remember. She reminds me of things that I have forgotten that might be important, useful, that I should write down. She reminds me if I already have notes on a subject.  She does not usually know where those notes are. She is persistent and does not shut up until I write down what she says and I have done so since the beginning.  It’s the only way I can get anything else done.  I’ve been evaluated, and no, I do not need medication. To learn to make use of what she tells me, I regularly attend master writing workshops with writers that I admire, do close readings, work with a private writing coach, read craft books, other stuff that I have forgotten.”

 

(Note: Our French Connection Retreat is sold out, but registrations are now open for our return to Grand Lake, Colorado in August for High Altitude Inspiration in the Great American West. We’d love for you to join us!)

Interviews, Kathy fish

Flash Curious & Writing as a New, Fun Profession: A Chat with Linda Hahn

Nancy and I are so happy that Linda Hahn will be joining us in Yviers, France this summer for our French Connection Retreat (which sold out in three days!). Linda kindly agreed to let me ask her a few questions. She’s had a fascinating life!

 

Hi Linda! Would you describe yourself as a traveler and/or adventurous by nature? And have you been to France before?

I am not much of an international traveler: Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico so far. The trip to France will be my first to the continent. However, I have lived in various locations in the US. I grew up in Michigan in the Detroit area. In my early twenties, I traveled to Oregon and lived there for over 20 years, graduating from college with a bachelor’s and a master’s. 

For about two years, I lived in Ketchikan, Alaska, the state’s third largest city on an island with 21 miles of paved road, complemented by 180 inches of precipitation per year. Playgrounds outdoors had roofs. Lots of bars and lots of churches. One movie theater, and if there were three people in line, residents thought the line was too long. No kidding. The scenery was outstanding-never saw more eagles just cruising the skies. I highly recommend traveling through the inside passage from Seattle to Juneau by ferry. You can sleep on cots on the deck under sunlamps and play cards all night. In Ketchikan, I taught swimming in elementary schools and met a lot of nice people, but two years was enough and moved back to Oregon. 

After completing my master’s degree in History of Science, I worked as a Public Historian in Washington, D.C. for about three years. I had previously been living in rural Oregon, and the culture change between Oregon and D.C. was significant. Too many people, way too much traffic. I was there during 9/11 and saw the smoke from the Pentagon burning from my apartment window. A couple of years later, during the sniper attacks actually, I moved back to Michigan. Phew.

What are you most looking forward to at the French Connection retreat?

The presentations on flash fiction intrigue me. I am not very familiar with the style so I am curious. On a practical note, even if I do not become a flash fiction writer, I suspect that the editing skills needed to pare down narrative into a very concise package will be beneficial in writing either short stories, or novels. I am also thinking that Nancy’s presentation on putting a novel together from flash fiction pieces will be helpful in putting together any novel-length piece. While these presentations sound great, honestly, I look forward most to being with people who take the craft of writing seriously and are on a journey of exploration like myself. 

Your favorite book?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is an all time favorite. Since reading Crawdads, I compare other novels to it and few measure up. Most compelling in Crawdads was the way I immediately felt a connection with the main character, a sense of empathy. Prior to reading that book last year, my fave was Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Another favorite author is Dan Brown. I have read DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons and am currently reading Origins. I came back to reading Brown because I recently signed up for Masterclasses online and first listened to his presentation. It was so wonderful to hear Dan Brown say that when he first started writing fiction, he didn’t think he could actually complete a novel. Dan Brown. Wow. I used two points he made in a short story of mine. 

And….Stranger things? Something about yourself you’d like to share?

A year and a half ago I retired from a career in prospect research/fundraising. I moved from the Metro Detroit area to the Village of Port Sanilac in the Thumb of the state, population of 600, where I live four blocks from the shores of Lake Huron (pictured on the right). In this new, quiet and remote environment, I will make writing my new fun profession. I took creative writing classes in college but let it go. Actually, I had to let it go because when I sit down and really write, it is all-consuming. My imagination goes wild and I act like a crazy person, staring at the screen, debating a paragraph and ooops, hours have passed, papers would be due and I’d be late for work. I didn’t really pick it up again until I retired, but I still have the same obsessions. I’ll work on a project totally focused for two weeks, and then not write for another two weeks. So now, I am truly enjoying being obsessive but in all honesty, I suspect these are not the best habits and I am hoping someone will magically set me on the right path.

Thanks so much, Linda! Can’t wait to hang out with you in France this summer!

Our French Connection Retreat is currently filled, but let us know if you’d like to get on the wait list. Better yet, check out our August retreat in Grand Lake, Colorado, now open for registrations!

Interviews

Nicholas Cook on Flash Fiction, Writing Retreats, & Creative Inspiration

Nancy and I are absolutely thrilled  that Nicholas Cook will be joining us in the French countryside for our French Connection Retreat in June. Nicholas took a few moments to chat with me about writing and writers, creativity, and flash fiction.

Hi Nicholas! Have you ever done a writing retreat before? And what are you most looking forward to in France?

I did a workshop in Taos, NM last year with Robert Vaughan and Meg Tuite. It was a blast, and I made some good friends and even managed to get a story from the workshop published. As for France, I’ve never been before so I’m looking forward to all of it, but mostly the chance to work with Kathy and Nancy, especially as I am interested in flash novel(la)s.

What inspires you creatively?

I find reading other peoples works inspires me the most. Otherwise, music, walking the dog, traveling, re-reading books.

Aw, I love this photo of you and your dog. I get the same creative boost when I’m out with my dog as well. Can you share a piece of writing of your own that you especially love and/or feel most proud of (and talk a bit about why?)

“The Eclipse” which was published in Lost Balloon in 2017. This story was a finalist for the 2018 Best Small Fictions and a Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction contest honorable mention. This is still one of my favorite stories of mine and one of the few I can go back and read and not cringe over. The story came together easily and was inspired heavily by the story Pool Night by Amy Hempel, who I was re-reading for the hundredth time. I like it because the voice and character are very different than what I usually write.

I love this story, Nicholas. I remember reading it when it came out. It does remind me of Amy Hempel’s work, quiet but powerful. No wonder it was recognized. What books or short stories have you read many times, and what draws you back to these works?

I will re-read every piece of flash written by Claudia Smith until the day I die. She was one of the first flash authors I really “got” over a decade ago, and her work still resonates with me (the voice, simplicity and economy of words, and emotion). Other flash authors I love are Cathy Ulrich, Kathy Fish, Kim Chinquee, Meg Pokrass, Tiff Holland, Casey Hannan, Robert Scotellaro, and so many more. As for novels, “Why Did I Ever” and “One D.O.A…” by Mary Robison are essential reads and I re-read them in some form once a year. Mary Robison has one of the most distinct and captivating voices and is a huge inspiration to me. I find I think like a lot of her characters (although maybe not so exaggerated, I hope).

Thank you for the mention! I feel the same way about Claudia Smith Chen’s, work and Mary Robison is an all-time favorite writer of mine, too.

Forgive me, but I always ask this question: Is there something funny / interesting / weird / wonderful about you that you’d like to share? 

I’ll have been traveling around Europe prior to and after the workshop as I’ll be on a twelve week sabbatical from my job. I’m excited to see what inspiration that brings! Maybe I will stop writing about the southwest and deserts.

Nicholas Cook’s fiction has appeared in Lost Balloon, Jellyfish Review, Unbroken Journal, Bath Flash Fiction Award, and elsewhere. He was a finalist for Best Small Fictions 2018. He lives in Texas.

Note: Our French Connection Retreat sold out very quickly (you may get on the wait list for it though!) Check out our other upcoming retreats in Costa Rica (there’s a VERY special limited time discount you might want to jump on) and Grand Lake, Colorado.