Melodie Corrigall is an eclectic Canadian writer whose work has appeared in Halfway Down the Stairs, Blue Lake Review, Corner Bar Magazine, Continue the Voice, Sybil, and Awakening Voices Literary Magazine (Check out www.melodiecorrigall.com)
Tell us about your process in writing, “Gift Unsolicited.”
In recent years, I have been writing shorter stories or flash fiction. Although, all I knew about Flash Fiction was it was short. So I took a course in Flash Fiction and it opened up a new world. There is such a range of possibilities of what FF can be. Looking at lists or similar places where information could hide secrets, I thought of a custom form. It was a challenge to draw a picture of the sender and receiver but leave it to the reader to be a detective and fill in the blanks. Art is a two-way communication: you, the writer, and she/he the reader. Equal partners in the venture with, of course the assistance of the editor and/or publisher and perhaps an illustrator.
Have you read anything good lately?
I am reframing the question about reading anything good to note anything that inspired me recently. With the idea of moving my aging brain out of the box I looked at the documentary My Octopus Teacher. A documentary, (which I usually avoid) about a world under the sea (as someone who thinks the best things humans ever did was to crawl out of the water unto dry land this was a strange choice.) But the film was worth the Oscar. I went to bed thinking about it: the story, the photography, the structure, and the insight. Then I looked at an English production of Uncle Vayna by Chekov (a master playwright and short story writer). I was captured by the excellence of the production and the genius of a writer who over a hundred years ago was so insightful about universal social issues.
Can you offer advice to fellow artists?
Re advice. First be open to inspiration not ask, “Where could this be published.” Get it down: comic, sad, science fiction or literary. Then edit ruthlessly: that poignant line might be in the wrong story. Finally, when the story is ready, check out which publications publish stories or poems like yours (Duotrope is a great resource). Finally, cast off your vulnerable, soft skin and put on your crocodile hide and send out your story. I choose publications that accept simultaneous submissions otherwise my story may be the shelf for ten months and then be rejected. If you get a rejection (as we all do), appreciate that someone has read your story and explained that your story doesn’t meet the publication’s needs. If you are lucky you may get a comment that will improve your story. Then having made changes, if appropriate, send the story out again a.s.a.p.
Do you have any other creative pursuits?
My only other creative pursuits are being a thoughtful human being and encouraging my grandchildren to be creative. The arts community has been especially creative during these difficult times. Hats Off to all the editors, publishers and illustrators etc. who are keeping the short story alive and doing it for love of literature with little or no income for their efforts.
Which authors inspire you?
I am inspired by Barbara Pym, who had a good run as a novelist, then a long period when she was consider “out of date” then a come back in later life. And Magnus Mills who is described as “charming, timeless and slightly at a tangent to reality.” I describe myself as eclectic and these two writers are as different as night and day as are my stories. Don’t worry about genre or the flavor of the month, just get your story down. And have fun!
Melodie’s work appears on page 13 of SBR’s May Issue 1.2