Matthew Downing’s 99 word microfiction, “Never About Wallace”, will appear in the fourth issue of The Centifictionist (Vol. 2, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2021). Matthew graciously answered a few brief questions for us. Read the interview below.
1. What inspired the story “Never About Wallace”?
Living in Chicago, it’s impossible to walk around the city and not notice the large homeless population. Having worked in hospital and shelter settings, I know from experience how little funding and resources are dedicated to solving this issue. Though there are enough empty houses and apartments to end homelessness tomorrow, the media instead often focuses on the absurd flaunting of billionaire wealth as if it is an achievement to be celebrated.
2. What inspires you and your writing?
I find myself writing a lot about class division and economic inequity. From a writing standpoint, the injustices of our systems provide a lot of tension and emotional drama for the characters trapped inside them. Above all, I try to put myself in my characters’ shoes and let them drive where their story goes.
3. What keeps you going when experiencing times of misery and despair?
Lately, I’ve felt like the structure of daily writing has given my life a guiding purpose because it allows me to wake up every day and focus time on doing something I love. I’ve also become more forgiving in allowing myself to indulge in hobbies like Dungeons and Dragons, board games, podcasts, TV, and movies because I know they make me happy.
4. What advice do you have for microfiction writers?
Just because a story is short doesn’t mean it has to be less impactful. Use each word purposefully.
5. Is there anything else that you would like people to know about you and/or your writing?
Matthew Downing is a writer in Chicago. He has been published in The Bangalore Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. You can find his work at matthewdowningstories.com. Twitter: @mdowningstories.