Jesse Goolsby on Flash Fiction
In a follow-up to our congratulations to author Jesse Goolsby on the inclusion of his Pleiades story, “Waist Deep at Hapuna,” in Best Small Fictions 2017, Pleiades editor Phong Nguyen asked Goolsby three questions about the story and flash fiction. His answers are below. Be sure to check out the anthology and issue 36.2, in which you can find the story. Purchase a subscription to Pleiades here.
Pleiades: What inspired this story?
Jesse Goolsby: A great and slippery question! “Waist Deep at Hapuna” inspiration…considering (1) this surprising-defiant voice that kept ricocheting around my head; “…can’t fool the cop, so why try?” (2) a photo I ran across: woman smiling in a “Fuck Cancer” t-shirt (3) the elation and surprise the first time my eight-year-old daughter (~65lbs) cradled me (~220lbs) in her arms in the water of our community pool; “I can save you,” she whispered. (4) we are much, much more than our bodies.
Is “Waist Deep at Hapuna” a part of a larger collection, or do you have another work-in-progress that you’d like to talk about?
This story is part of a nearly-finished collection of flash fiction and longer stories/narrative nonfiction tentatively titled Anchor & Knife. I’m hoping to have the collection ready by May.
Why did you choose the flash fiction genre, and what does it do that other mediums cannot do?
Flash fiction promotes immediate narrative intensity and access to character. There just isn’t the page space/word count to slow drive into scene. For “Waist Deep at Hapuna,” as with all of my creative work, I’m not aware that I consciously choose length. Some pieces arrive longer, some shorter. I try to bring the consciousness to life as best I can. In this story Marie arrives with full force and says what she needs to say in 645 words.