Microinterview: Alexander B. Joy

Alexander B. Joy’s 100 word microfiction, “Pokhoronka”, will appear in the fifth issue of The Centifictionist (Vol. 3, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2022). Alexander graciously answered a few brief questions for us. Read the interview below.

Alexander B. Joy

1. What inspired the story “Pokhoronka”?

“Pokhoronka” came to me almost in its entirety after reading an interview with Nobel laureate Herta Müller in The Paris Review. At one point, when discussing the Soviet Union’s penchant for selective record-keeping, she remarks, “In the old days, they filled out death certificates for horses, but later on they didn’t send anything at all when people died or disappeared.” It felt like a novel in miniature to me, and I decided I had to do something with it.

2. What inspires you and your writing?

I think the world is a wonderful place, in the literal sense of the word: “full of wonder.” (I find the world more than a bit lacking in the word’s other respects.) Whenever I discover some vein of interest, I can’t help but mine it.

3. What keeps you going when experiencing times of misery and despair?

I try to remind myself that, even on my worst days, I experience forms of happiness and fulfillment that my younger self never would have foreseen. The future me may know joys that my present self can’t even conceive, and I owe it to both of us to grant him that opportunity. Failing that, there’s always spite.

4. What advice do you have for microfiction writers?

Whenever you have an idea for a microfiction story, always try to write it – no matter how shaky the concept or weak the draft. You can always polish it later, and the small word count means it won’t have cost you much time if it turns out not to be salvageable.

5. Is there anything else that you would like people to know about you and/or your writing?

In the nonfiction world, I write about aesthetics, literature, and film. You can find links to my other published works at about.me/alexanderbjoy. (Forgive the low-tech website… I’ve resolved to assemble a better one this year.)

Alexander B. Joy holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His prose has previously appeared in The Atlantic, Nature Futures, Bright Wall/Dark Room, and elsewhere. He lives and works as a curriculum editor in his native New Hampshire, where he spends his leisure time reading philosophy and writing haiku. Twitter: @aeneas_nin.

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