Kathy Fish’s new piece of writing, “See How They Run” will be featured in the January 2019 print issue. In this interview about her new piece, Kathy takes time from her busy schedule to share with us her writing process, the bending of genres, and more.
How did this story “See How They Run” come about? What was your process?
I was listening to the radio and the Beatles song, See How They Run came on and then it stuck in my head. That title and “Lady Madonna, children at her feet…”
My mind went to an image of boys, brothers, running. From what I didn’t yet know. But I started to write and this rhythm came to the sentences: “See” this or that, and “How…” etc. And I just wrote sentence after sentence that way and a world started to emerge and a feeling of kids, neighboring families, preparing for battle. They decide they’re enemies right away, based on their differences. I just wrote into that idea.
As a poet, I couldn’t help but notice something poetic about this piece. I’m wondering, about genre labels and what makes the writing flash and not prose poetry or another form?
I agree that it sort of straddles that line between flash and prose poetry, and I’ve been asked many times what the difference is. I’d argue that this piece could be classified as either. There is a definite “story” being told, with a definite arc and movement. While these things can be present in prose poetry, they must be present in flash fiction.
How much is “See How They Run” a hybrid piece of writing?
That this piece, I feel, could be classified as either flash fiction or prose poetry, points to it being essentially a hybrid piece of writing.
I think about “intent” vs. “reception” of a piece, too. My flash, “Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild” was perceived/received by many as a poem! Basically poets called it a poem and flash fiction writers called it flash fiction. But I have to say, I didn’t consciously sit down to write a flash or a poem when I wrote it. The same is true for “See How They Run.” I just created a piece of writing that was not in any way planned or organized around any structure or rules of, say, story writing or poetry. I don’t know if I’m being very articulate about this, Nawal. It will be interesting for me to see how “See How They Run” is perceived by readers. How it feels to them.
About Kathy Fish
Kathy Fish is a faculty mentor in Fiction at the Mile-High MFA at Regis University in Denver. Additionally, she teaches two-week intensive Fast Flash© Workshops. Her fourth collection of short fiction, RIFT, co-authored with Robert Vaughan, released in December, 2015 from Unknown Press. Fish’s “Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild” was selected for Best American Nonrequired Reading 2018, edited by Sheila Heti. The piece was also chosen by Aimee Bender for Best Small Fictions 2018. Previously, her story, “Strong Tongue” was chosen by Amy Hempel for Best Small Fictions, 2017. Her work also appeared in Best Small Fictions 2016, edited by Stuart Dybek. Her stories have been published or are forthcoming in The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers, Black Lawrence Press, 2015, Richard Thomas (ed.), Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up to No Good, Upper Rubber Boot Books, 2015, H.L. Nelson and Joanne Merriam, (eds.), Electric Literature, Guernica, Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, Yemassee Journal, Elm Leaves Journal, Slice, Mississippi Review online, New South, Quick Fiction, and various other journals and anthologies. She was the guest editor of Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web 2010. She is the author of three other collections of short fiction: a chapbook of flash fiction in the chapbook collective, “A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women” (Rose Metal Press, 2008), “Wild Life” (Matter Press, 2011) and “Together We Can Bury It” available from The Lit Pub. Professional memberships: AWP and Pen America.