Welcome back! This month I sat down with Al Kratz, my writer friend from Iowa. Al and I connected after having attended a Bending Genres workshop together in pre-pandemic 2020. (Yes, Bending Genres pops up a lot in my posts. I have connected with many writers through Bending Genres, and have had much success with pieces I’ve generated through their workshops. But I must acknowledge that Red Oak Writing started it all in 2019 when I landed in Robert Vaughan’s (EIC of Bending Genres) roundtable that he facilitates through Red Oak. Nods all around.)
Al is the managing editor of New Flash Fiction Review and a co-founder of the Flash Monsters!!! Blog. His own writing has appeared in many places, which I touch on in my introduction. He loves talking about writing and reading (right up my alley); and, just this month, his book Off The Resting Sea was released by above/ground press out of Canada.
I received his book last week (after I had recorded our interview), and have since had a chance to read it. Off The Resting Sea is a spot-on example of the novella-in-flash form. (Al explains this form during our interview.) Through a series of stand alone flash pieces, he tells the story of Sergio and his quest for someone he has lost, but it’s hard to find that person because Sergio is confused about the person’s identity. And like with love, and so many other things in life, Sergio is looking in all the wrong places, until, if he is willing to shift his expectations, he isn’t. The heart of Al’s novella-in-flash, and Sergio’s journey, is captured in this line, “You’ll end up where you’re heading.”
Coming to the end of any piece of writing, if done well, should leave the reader feeling like the time and attention given were time and attention well spent. Off The Resting Sea does not disappoint. I closed the book feeling something had been added to my life by getting to know Sergio and following him on his journey. I had compassion for his tenacity, in spite of his confusion, to keep searching; and, have found compassion for myself and those times when I, too, have continued to unearth the same stone, certain I knew what I was looking for.
I hope you enjoy this month’s In Conversation…with Al Kratz
Interviewing Al was a joy! Thanks Al. And, thanks to all of you for stopping by.
Before signing off, I have a few updates. In February, I had a piece published by The Daily Drunk titled “The Ins and Outs.” If you have a moment, I hope you will click on the title and give it a looksee. I have a piece upcoming at Rejection Letters titled “Whose Nightmare Is It?”
For the last year, I have been a creative nonfiction reader for Bending Genres, and have enjoyed my time with Robert Vaughan and the team there. In fact, I’m proud to say, I was a part of the team that selected the Pushcart nominated story “Strawberry Jackknife” by Leah Christianson for Issue Eighteen. (I hope you will click and read it. The ending is incredible, which is what made me give it a YES! in the queue.) But spring is always a good time for a change, so in April, I am leaving Bending Genres to be a fiction editor at New Flash Fiction Review. I’m looking forward to joining Al and the rest of the NFFR team.
Big things coming to The Burning Hearth next month. For my regular post, I have invited Jeannee Sacken to be my guest blogger. She is a former English prof., turned photographer, turned adventurer, turned author and she will be sharing with us some of her beautiful images from all around the globe and talk about her recently released novel Behind the Lens.
Then, I will be In Conversation...with romance novelist Jennifer Rupp. She writes historical romance under the name Jennifer Trethewey. Her foundation for story-telling is grounded in her long career in theater as co-founder and former co-artistic director of Renaissance Theaterworks, one of the most successful and the second longest running women’s theater company in America. As an actor-turned-writer, she has moved her performances from the stage to the page and invites you to enjoy the drama of the Scottish Highlands in her Highlanders of Balforss series featuring brawny Scots, sweeping romance, and non-stop adventure all laced with a liberal dose of humor. Tying the Scot, Betting the Scot, Forgetting the Scot, Saving the Scot (Entangled Publishing).
I hope you will come back next month for both The Burning Hearth and In Conversation...Until then, enjoy the coming spring!