Mini-Interview with Jonathan Cardew


Why do you write flash? What makes it different for you?

I write flash because it’s fucking brilliant. I love it. I love everything about it. There’s nothing quite like a shot of short-short fiction. I grew up adoring short stories—and I still do—but flash fiction goes beyond and enters a poetic and even psychic realm. Good flash relies on craft like any writing form, but it also relies on intuition and bravery. The courage and/or foolishness to say: ‘that’s enough.’

 What’s your writerly lifejacket: character or plot?

Probably plot! No, wait, character! A little of each? My life jacket might actually be structure—being able to cut and chop and resize is a skill I think I’ve gotten pretty good at. I feel like anything’s a story as long as it’s packaged right (a student of mine recently wrote an erasure flash/poem out of my syllabus—which is hot-shit in my book!)

Writing style: Quick and messy or slow and precise?
Slow and messy? I’m a really bad crafter of sentences—like really, really bad and I have to go over and over them and polish until they’re good. Like a pebble. Enough water crashes onto a rock, it becomes a smooth and beautiful pebble. That’s my writing style: wave-like, wave-like, wave-like, wave-like.

What element or part of your “real life” do you think most influences your writing?
My addictions/ compulsions.

If you could recommend a few flash stories or writers, who/what would it be?
Oh my God, I always freeze up when people ask me this, but luckily this is a text-based question and I have time to take a walk and do some deep, steady breaths to compose myself….

There are so many good flash writers out there and my favorites rotate according to the seasons and the stages of the moon, but I’d have to say the writers that hit me every time are: Claire Polders, David Gaffney, Ashley Hutson, David Swann, Nancy Stohlman, Meg Tuite…and more more more!!!

This story “Happy Place” by David Gaffney is one of my happy places:

What story of yours do you wish got more recognition?

Robocop Infinity, published at Jellyfish Review.

I’ve read this one at a few events, but I don’t think it quite goes over. I don’t think people quite get it. I don’t think I quite get it. But it’s Robocop, man! It. Is. Robocop.
BIO: Jonathan Cardew’s stories appear or are forthcoming in Wigleaf, cream city review, Passages North, Superstition Review, JMWW, People Holding, and Atticus Review, among others. He is the fiction editor for Connotation Press and MicroViews column editor for Bending Genres. He recently won the Best Small Fictions Micro Fiction Contest. Originally from the UK, he lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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