Barry Vitcov’s microfictions, “Dangerous Poodles”, and “The Tattoo”, will appear in the second issue of The Centifictionist (Vol. 1, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2020). Barry graciously answered a few brief questions for us. Read the interview below.
1. What inspired the stories “Dangerous Poodles” and “The Tattoo”?
Real events served as the inspiration for both stories. “Dangerous Poodles” began from my continuing annoyance over door-to-door evangelists. The “last straw” was being stopped while walking one of my poodles by a couple of Mormon missionaries asking if I was interested in hearing their story. “The Tattoo” does go back to when I was a child playing with a real Annie and learning about her family’s experience during the Holocaust. She did have freckles, red hair, and concentration camp numbers tattooed on her arm. The lifelong friendship is simply my imagination at work.
2. What inspires you and your writing?
I think I’m mostly inspired by boredom. It allows my mind to wonder with the luxury of daydreaming and sometimes a connection to distant memories. When I’m stuck, I just write aimlessly while waiting for something to happen.
3. What keeps you going when experiencing times of misery and despair?
Even in today’s most troubling times, I remain optimistic that progress is being made. I think a sense of community through friends and family helps a lot. I also try to make a habit of trying to find something of beauty every day. Most recently, I’ve been using walks around my extended neighborhood to notice and photograph a daily flower. Nature always gives me joy.
4. What advice do you have for microfiction writers?
Just write. Most of what I write, whether poetry or fiction, is much longer than 100 words. However, short pieces require lots of editing and word choice. I consider microfiction to be more like a narrative poem.
5. Is there anything else that you would like people to know about you
and/or your writing?
During my career as a teacher and school administrator, I did very little creative writing. It’s a lot of fun to return to a teenage love in one’s senior years.
Barry Vitcov lives in Ashland, Oregon with his wife and two standard poodles. He is a retired educator who recently began submitting poetry and short fiction to various publications, with several poems and short stories already published. He began writing poems in his early teens and fondly remembers his father carrying around a small collection of his poems in his billfold and showing them off to his friends and customers. He has been published in EAP: The Magazine, Literary Yard, Scarlet Leaf Review, Vita Brevis, Finding the Birds, and The Drabble. vitcov.com.