At this point in my many years of making work, I am much less a determiner, less in charge of things—consciously anyway—and much more of a conductor/conduit/follower. I studied poetry in Iowa, but my public success has been as a novelist. And what I really want to be when I grow up is a musician (of sorts).
I go through my life in a creator state of mind. There are numerous writing projects underway (in all stages of completion or abandonment); scads of paintings, 3D, photos, and video art projects filling more and more real and virtual space; and increasingly, making and manipulating sound is taking my time and filling my spaces. Ideas and beginnings gather and collect. Too, I have several projects that combine all of these elements. Through diligence and intention, I have learned to quell any pressure to complete, to perfect. Anything. I have endeavored to be present in the making of whatever idea presents itself to me. And they always do, those ideas. I’ve learned to love and wallow in the creative process, with limited attention to what the final product has to or must be. Be like. The result is that I finish a lot of work (on its schedule rather than mine). Then I move on to the next thing.
It’s been years since I’ve written a poem. That one came to me as a surprise, and I did nothing with it except give it to my wife. Recently, and between video projects, I fell into a flash fiction hole. Found a rich vein there; two dozen and counting. And of those, “Let’s Say, Triptych” started life as that last poem. Much of the meaty parts of the poem are present in the first panel of the story’s triptych. But I was in full-on fiction writing mode, and following, not leading. Following. There’s a thirty-year old idea in the story. There’s a tomato sauce stain from last week.
I was very pleased with where the narrative led me.
Though most of STEVEN SHERRILL’s years and public success have been as a novelist, he was born a poet. Somewhere along the way, he took up banjo and synthesizer. He’s having so much fun in this realm of short-short-flash-micro. It feels like home. In the end, in the stories, he’s hurling himself against the potential for love in almost everything.