Author Q & A with Richard Stimac
by Christine Nessler
June 14, 2023
This week’s Author Q & A is with Richard Stimac. Stimac has a full-length book of poetry, Bricolage, (Spartan Press) and a forthcoming poetry chapbook, Of Water and of Stone (Moonstone). He has also published flash fiction in BarBar (2023 BarBe nominee), The Blue Mountain Review, Book of Matches, Bridge Eight, Bright Flash, Drunk Monkeys, Flash Fiction Magazine, Half and One, New Feathers, Paperbark, Prometheus Dreaming, and elsewhere.
Stimac’s flash fiction, Good Friday, is featured in Issue #11 of The Good Life Review.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m 54. I read. I write. I have a cat. I make money as a licensed massage therapist and an Uber driver.
What inspired your flash fiction piece, Good Friday?
I begin each piece, poetry or prose, with either a strong line or a strong image. Maybe I have a plan, but mostly I don’t. I figure out the content as I write. Good Friday began with two things. First, my mom practiced what’s called folk Catholicism, meaning there’s the official teachings of the Church and then there is what common people believe. For example, my mom was convinced that it rained every Good Friday. That was one thing. The second thing was the line that “each storm tells its own story.”
What message were you hoping to convey through Good Friday?
I wasn’t trying to convey any message. I had an idea, an image, and I developed the story as I wrote it. I’m a formalist, so I don’t think that a piece of writing has a “message.” If it did, then why didn’t the writer just give the message? Because a work of art is more than its paraphrasable content, that is, more than its message.
How do you fuel your creative fire?
I write daily.
Do you write in other formats besides flash fiction? What is your favorite format of writing?
I published my first full-length book of poetry, Bricolage (Spartan Press), in November, 2022. All but two of the poems are sonnets, often with strict meter and rhyme scheme. It took five years to finish Bricolage. After finishing, I wanted a break from poetry, so I began experimenting with flash fiction. I am finishing up a collection and will be looking for a publisher. Also, I am attending the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop this summer for fiction writing. I plan on writing full-length short stories next, along with a non-fiction book on a local historical figure.
Tell us about the work you have done or do that makes you most proud.
Some, actually quite a few, of the poems in Bricolage are very good. So are some of the flash fiction in the collection that I am finishing. What makes me proud is that I was able to write both poems and prose that are both literary and accessible to a casual reader.
How have your life experiences impacted the way you write?
I write about one thing: growing up in the 1970s in a small Rustbelt town. That’s how my experiences impact what I write about.
How does writing help you to make sense of the world around you?
It doesn’t, except that I’ve recently accepted that I am a writer, so what I do is write.
What is the most rewarding part of writing? And what is the most challenging part of writing?
I am very intentionally trying to make art. So when someone else reads something that I’ve written and responds to it, then I am satisfied. The most challenging part of writing is the writing. If one wants to be a writer, not someone who writes, then one has to write, all the time.
What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “The Good Life?”
Champagne and lots of cash to spend.
Thank you, Richard, for your contribution to our growing community of writers and artists. We appreciate the extra time you spent on this Q&A and hope the hunt for a publisher for that next book goes well. We wish you the best!