J. Annie MacLeod’s 100 word microfiction, “Abandon”, will appear in the fourth issue of The Centifictionist (Vol. 2, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2021). J. Annie graciously answered a few brief questions for us. Read the interview below.
1. What inspired the story “Abandon”?
A few years ago, I was at an artist residency in Virginia and attended a gallery exhibition in a space that looked a bit like an old barn. The artist was a slight woman with raisinet eyes and quick gestures, and her husband was at the event. The dynamic I imagined between them, though, is pure fiction.
2. What inspires you and your writing?
I’m continually drawn to stories that reveal the complexity of the human through heart-stopping prose. In my own work, I strive for the same. Sometimes I’m successful.
3. What keeps you going when experiencing times of misery and despair?
When experiencing despair or even misery, the best medicine is reading a really good book about someone else’s misery, which allows my mind to untether, reminding me that suffering is universal–as is kindness.
4. What advice do you have for microfiction writers?
My advice to other microfictionists is simple: pay attention.
5. Is there anything else that you would like people to know about you and/or your writing?
My pen name, J. Annie MacLeod, is a tribute to my mother’s side of the family. My mother is an immigrant from Scotland, and her clan are the MacLeods of Skye. Because traditional marriage contracts erase a woman’s birth name and its legacy, I wanted to perpetuate the strength of my mom by adopting a version of her own name for my creative work.
J. Annie MacLeod is a writer and English professor who specializes in fiction, Victorian mass culture, women writers, and the literatures of food. The author & co-editor of five books, Annie is a former Fulbright Scholar to both Slovenia and the Netherlands as well as the winner of the Robert Foster Cherry Award, called the “Nobel prize for teaching.” Annie also produces lecture series for The Great Courses and Audible—her newest is “Books that Cook: Food and Fiction”—and she’s published numerous short stories in journals from Story Magazine to Versal to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Instagram: instagram.com/j.annie.m/. Website: jennifercognard-black.com.