What inspired or influenced you to write this piece?
This story was inspired by a flash piece called Good Times by Stephen Graham Jones. It’s about a guy who absentmindedly feels up his dog after a breakup. So yikes. I’m not sure of the exact quote but I remember SGJ said something along the lines of, “God help me for writing that,” which stuck in my brain. Maybe a year later I’d just finished up a very long and heavy story when that quote jumped back to the front of my mind. As a break I decided to write something comedy focused using, “God help me for writing that,” as a tentpole, eventually coming up with the horrible idea of an octopus/diver sex-tape. After a day of writing I discovered that I lacked the sheer courage to pull that idea off so I just had fun and followed Ophelia into what became the narrative.
How would you describe your artistic style? What do you wish to accomplish with your art?
As of now I discovery write with a loose idea in my mind of where I want to go and how I want to get there. I don’t think I’ve ever outlined anything. It’s not always the most organized practice but I do think it lends itself towards character development. I’m doing my job when it starts to feel like the characters are making their own decisions.
Asides from a measure of personal success I’m not entirely sure what I’d like to accomplish. In a way I think writing justifies itself as a process of communicating with the world, or rather storytellers view life through stories, so it’s sort of a natural thing to want to sit down and record/create narratives. I do think the world could do with less nihilism and cynicism, both of which are sentiments that don’t produce anything helpful or positive, in my opinion. So I’d like my fiction to help people experience more hope and compassion. I’m fine with sarcasm. God bless sarcasm.
Tell us a little bit about your current artistic projects.
I’ve got my debut story collection releasing this year through Lost Fox Publishing. It’s called Try Not to Get Discouraged and Starry-Eyed Ophelia is a part of it. I’ve also just finished a short horror novel that I’m trying to sell, which is always a fun process of rejection and then waiting and then depression and then starting the process again.
You can read John’s third place winning story, Starry-Eyed Ophelia and the Space Man, here.