Q: Do you use music for inspiration? If so what do you listen to?
A: Constantly. That is, I don’t consciously look to music for inspiration, but it helps me out all the same. I like to write (and read) with music on, and every now and then something will just jump out and suggest a story to me. Given that I’m not listening with my full attention, it’s a misheard lyric as often as not. Sometimes it’s a fragment of lyric that I repurpose. Either way, it goes down in the idea file for future use.
The only time I consciously set out to work from a song was with my first ever story, “Blind”, written in the 1980s (published in 2011). It’s a very literal interpretation of the Deep Purple song by the same name. In slightly more recent days, I stole Brian Setzer’s title “Drive Like Lightning…Crash Like Thunder” for a pair of pulpy SF adventures, and a line from Fred Eaglesmith’s “Seven Shells” for a children’s story.
Those artists give you a feeling for what I listen to: hard rock, rockabilly, and gloomy singer-songwriters. Throw in some classic country (Merle, Waylon) and some Euro-pop (Herbert Grönemeyer, Fiorella Mannoia), and that covers a lot of it.
Q: Do you have a garden? Have you ever grown your own food?
A: When I was young, we had a huge garden with all sorts of herbs, veggies, and flowers. I used to spend hours reading among the plants. My current tiny apartment doesn’t have room for gardening, but I still love the idea of it. Luckily, Seattle is a very green city. Even if I don’t have plants of my own, growing things are all around me.
Kelly Sandoval’s story “Small Magics” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 17 June 2016.Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
A: It’s tempting to go full pseud on this one, but just the other day I was reading the second volume of art critic Brian Sewell’s autobiography, ‘Outsider’, and he reminded me about the genius of Salvador Dali. I was fascinated by his creations as a younger man, and gazed at glossy copies of ‘Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)’ for hours. It combines religious ecstasy with the mysteries of nuclear science and higher dimensions. Christ is fixed, by nothing but ‘fields’, to the cruciform shape of an unfolded tesseract, or hypercube. Apparently, though I didn’t know it at the time, there are multiple representations of the painter and Gala, his wife, in the skin folds and shadows of each knee. You have to see it in the flesh to spot them. This painting appealed to my developing (Godless) mind in the same way as John Fowles’ The Magus and numerous concept albums. Although Dali is sometimes looked down upon as a painter for adolescents, perhaps he was, as Sewell says, ‘…the last of the great old masters.’
Phil Berry’s story “Sheer” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 10 June 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.
A: I don’t have a favourite as such when it comes to fairy tales but the one that definitely rises to the surface whenever I think back to stories that influenced me at a young age; is the story of ‘Tailypo.’ The actual story itself is more of legend that found its way into the fairy tale simply by it being repeatedly told until it became commonly told to children and used as a cautionary tale. I remember it being one of the first instances realising that what I was enjoying, and what I really wanted out of the story, was an unhappy ending, I quite enjoyed the fact that the ending was left more or less open to your imagination and you yourself were able to fill in the details as to what becomes of the lead character as well as the story having the guts to give us a dose of realism. The idea of that sort of brutal honesty in a story, when everything else in fairy tales seemed (at the time) dressed up to shield the young reader from realism, had me quite enamoured.
The fact that Tailypo started as a legend, with no author claiming ownership, also gave it a root in reality and a certain mystique that something like Goldilocks and The Three Bears just didn’t have straight off the bat – and the fact that there were so many variations on it also made it seem like it needed investigating. Subsequently; everyone I would tell it to would have a different version to trade and I would trade stories, gladly, until I built up my own personal mythos about the legend and it’s very dark message. In some ways, on a very basic level, it is a perfect story and is still a story I ‘check in on’ from time to time to see if anyone else has added a new version to the mix.
Luke Spooner’s image “Leaves and Butterflies” is the cover art for our June 2016 stories.
Q: Do you make art other than prose? What kind, and how is it different?
A: Unfortunately, I am not gifted in any art other than prose. I can’t draw, can’t sing, and never took my childhood piano lessons seriously. I am grateful, however, for the existence of those who are gifted in the visual and musical arts!