Strings, flash fiction, Issue 20, September 1, 2012
Birthdate? As of 2012, the earth has orbited the sun 39 times since my birth.
When did you start writing? My first memory is from fifth grade, when I wrote and illustrated a poem about a catbird: The catbird is a strange bird/When it sings, it sings a word/Meow, it sings/Meow, it sings/Recognize that?/It’s the sound of a cat! Then, in Junior High, I discovered Lovecraft, and my artwork and writing morphed into something much stranger.
When and what and where did you first get published? In 1998 I wrote a ghost story called “The Dead Man Who Appears” for Spire magazine, a publication of Elgin Community College in Illinois.
What themes do you like to write about? I’m all over the place. Environmental issues seem to be chewing their way in from the margins.
What books and/or stories have most resonated with you as an author? There’s no one book or story, although anything by Lord Dunsany certainly qualifies as literary crack. Other drugs include Poe, Kafka, Chekov, Lovecraft, Grabinski, Twain, and Breece D’J Pancake. I sniff lines of poetry almost every day: Blake, Yeats, Tennyson, Rimbaud, Plath, and Mary Oliver, among others. I trip out on books about folklore and mythology, like Fire in the Head by Tom Cowan, or anything by Joseph Campbell. The essays of Loren Eiseley expand my mind. Black Elk Speaks went in my pipe and I smoked it; that book brought me closer to my Native American ancestry. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin, Little, Big by John Crowley, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, and Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman all made me hallucinate and dream beautiful things. I overdose on astronomy, paleontology, and quantum mechanics. I mainline Weird Tales and National Geographic. And for the ultimate high there’s Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables, and The Arabian Nights. All these and so much more have fed and inspired my imagination.
Jason Sturner grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago, where he has worked as an elevator operator, rock drummer, graphic designer, naturalist and botanist. He’s had stories and poems published in Aoife’s Kiss, Space and Time Magazine, Mythic Delirium, Aphelion, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia, among others. He currently lives near the Great Smoky Mountains.