Another in our continuing series of interviews and profiles of outstanding members of a “new wave” of writers bringing renewed compassion and understanding to today’s literary scene. Our current subject is Anne Leigh Parrish, whose work has appeared in New Pop Lit‘s pages twice in our brief history, here and here.
1.) What inspired you to become a writer?
Anne Leigh Parrish: Loving the musical nature of language. My very first passion was the piano. Music told a story with rhythm and pitch. Loving books came only a bit later in my life, maybe a year or so, putting me at about age nine. I was a good story-teller, or so I was told by the adults in my life at the time. I started writing because I wanted to see what I could do with language.
2.) Who are your writer role models?
ALP: Alice Munro, for her fearless way she’ll digress and delve; Edna O’Brien for her precision and immense range; Louise Erdrich for getting to the heart of the matter in wholly unique descriptions. I’m also a big fan of William Trevor, although he’s getting on in years and hasn’t written anything for a while. Elizabeth Tallent wrote a dynamite story collection, Mendocino Fire which I just adored.
3.) Where do you get the ideas for your tales?
ALP: Short answer: life. Longer answer: wanting to know what makes people do what they do, and what makes me do what I do. Motivation is something I’m very curious about. I’m also fascinated with the stories people tell themselves to get themselves off the hook, or to process a traumatic event.
4.) What’s your greatest strength as a writer? Your biggest weakness?
ALP: I’d say my greatest strength is persistence and being willing to revise along the lines someone suggests – as long as I agree with their insights. My biggest weakness is thinking that if my work is rejected it’s because there’s something wrong with it. The truth is that I learned how to write well a long time ago, but people don’t always connect with my artistic vision which is fine, though disappointing at times.
5.) Are we approaching a new Golden Age of the American short story?
ALP: I think this is true, particular in the area of flash fiction. I read submissions for Literary Orphans, and some of the things that come in are amazing!
Anne Leigh Parrish is the author of three books of fiction: All The Roads That Lead From Home, stories (Press 53, 2011); Our Love Could Light The World, linked stories (She Writes Press, 2013); and her debut novel, What Is Found, What Is Lost (She Writes Press, 2014) a Finalist in the Literary Fiction category of the 2015 International Book Awards. She has published over 40 short stories, and numerous articles on the art and craft of writing. Visit her at www.anneleighparrish.com, on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/AnneLParrish, and on her Facebook author page at www.facebook.com/AnneLeighParrish.