Writer Interviews

Grandpa Hank’s Writer Interview – Molly Gross (Part II)

Posted by on Jun 12, 2014 in Writer Interviews | 0 comments

Grandpa Hank’s Writer Interview – Molly Gross (Part II)

And now the exciting conclusion of the Molly Gross interview!

Grandpa Hank: How do you balance your life as a playwright with the myriad of other things going on? Basically, how do you survive and still do what you love?
 
Molly Gross: That is a very good question, and I’m always trying to find the answer to it! HA! You’re right that there certainly are a “myriad of things” happening on a daily basis, as is true for all working parents. Between teaching, cooking meals, cleaning messes, grading papers, and attending school and community events, I often get very little sleep and very little “me time.” I’m very fortunate that my husband and I work at the same college where he’s a theatre professor who likes my work. We recently produced a murder mystery I wrote that I also got to perform in. This made it easy to blend my passion with work obligations to end up with a finished product, but I know that is a rare blessing. I’m the kind of writer that needs both chunks of time and deadlines to motivate me, and because writing makes me feel whole, energized, and simultaneously at peace, I see it as part of my survival. So I have to carve out that time, even if gets to be 1:00AM (like it is now). 
 
GH: But why sleep when you can answer more questions? Let’s take this one for instance. Can you feel a change in your stories over the years? If yes, then how so?
 
MG: Honestly, I think I’ve become a more selfish writer, which I don’t necessarily see as a bad thing. I find myself wanting to write about things that really affect me deeply – things that make me think, things I don’t have answers to, but need to explore or purge, things that frighten me, mostly because I have no idea if anyone else will understand. I used to think about what would make audiences laugh, what would make them cry, what’s popular, or what I thought people would want to see onstage. Now, I try to generate stories that I want to read or see come to life, and I try to read more often to learn more about myself. Ya know, in all my spare time.
 
GH: And now that you’re deliriously tired, please finish this monologue. (Character of your choice) “Back when I was young, my grandmother had a saying. She said….”

MG: “…never hide a pig in your pantry.” Oh, Granny. She had a bunch of them. “Keep your kernels on the corn,” “You can’t clean a white cow.” She grew up on a farm. I could never figure out what she was saying, but I’ve tried hard to over the years. Anyway, the pig one comes to mind, not because I have a pig in my pantry, that would be ridiculous, but because of what I think is going on in your cubicle, Brad. Brett? Brad. I think I finally realize what Granny meant. Look, I know you’ve only worked here a couple weeks, but you’ve got to trust me, okay? The boss, he uh… OH HI CHERYL NICE SCARF! Phew. She gone? Anyway, the boss is bound to figure out what you’ve got in here, it’s just begging to be found. We can all smell it. It’s very distinctive. Especially today, when I walked by, that’s when it hit me. Your stash of donuts is like a pig in the pantry! You think it’s out of sight but it makes itself known. A pig’ll eat everything! Can you imagine the mess? The noise? Someone’s bound to fi—You know, I have to uh… I think I’ll go home for lunch today. Be back in a few. Got some pig I mean big, uh… business. To tend to. See ya Brad. Brett? Brad.

AAAAAND SCENE.

Both Grandpa Hank and coffee joints all over southern Georgia would like to thank Molly for her time and her very thoughtful answers. What a great insight into how writing and real life simultaneously enrich, enhance, and roadblock each other.

And now, in Molly’s honor, Grandpa Hank is going to go take a nap.

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Grandpa Hank’s Writer Interview – Molly Gross (Part I)

Posted by on Jun 10, 2014 in Writer Interviews | 0 comments

Grandpa Hank’s Writer Interview – Molly Gross (Part I)

What time is it? Well as I’m writing this it’s 11:03AM. Ah, crap, now it’s 11:04. And most likely it’s a completely different time for you as you read this. (Although if it’s indeed 11:03 or 11:04 for you as well, what an insane LIFE CHANGING COINCIDENCE!) Nothing you thought you knew about the world makes sense anymore. Chaos is your only reality, an unsettling freedom that causes you to toss your underwear into the sky and yell to the heavens, “It’s all finally, gloriously come together!”

No? No? You’re still just sitting there reading? Ok then.

What time is it? It’s writer interview time. This week, we’ve got a very insightful interview from an incredibly talented playwright who got her BA in acting and directing from the University of Arizona and followed it up with an MFA in playwriting from the University of California-Riverside. She is currently the Assistant Professor of Learning Support Reading at Andrew College in Cuthbert, Georgia. Her plays have been seen all over central and southern California, and most recently her mystery “Murder at Buckhorn Manor,” was produced in Fort Gaines, Georgia. Grandpa Hank welcomes to the shack – Molly Gross.

GRANDPA HANK: What tends to inspire you? Do you get plot ideas first or do you find characters and figure out a way to revolve a plot around them?

MOLLY GROSS: Ah, we’re starting with the tough one, eh? To answer the first part, it sounds hokey, but anything can inspire me. I’ll drive by a lonely tire swing and want to work it into a play, or I’ll see a woman with a tear in her purse and imagine how she just used it to fend off a rabid Chihuahua, or one of my kids will shout “Get to the spankery!” and out comes the lap top.
 
To answer the second part, I think I have just as many plot-driven ideas as I do character-driven ones – it just depends on where that initial spark comes from. The image of the tire swing on stage, for instance, makes me think about how it became lonely more than who is involved, while the woman who sacrifices her purse to a rabid dog will make me wonder who she is. I’m pretty forgetful, so I carry around these little notebooks in my bags and in the car and jot down anything interesting to me. That way, I can flip through my inspiration when I’m ready to write, and I find the plot and character get mixed up pretty quickly as soon as I start outlining. With two kids and working full time, I unfortunately don’t write as often as I’d like.
 
GH: What is your favorite character you’ve ever created?
 
MG: How does a writer narrow that one down? Aren’t we all in love with our own characters?
 
Some characters are my favorite because of their voice, like a re-invention of Juliet in a play of mine who speaks in iambic pentameter but with a contemporary, sassy flare. Other characters I love because of what they do, like Rowan, a hermit-like teenage boy who breeds flies in corpses. It was kinda neat being in his head for a while. (Hmm….I don’t know what that says about me) I guess my favorite might be a little girl from a one act, who looks up to her parents and tries to keep them from getting divorced, because creating her made me laugh and broke my heart at the same time.
 
GH: What play or production do you consider your biggest success as a playwright?
 
MG: I wrote a one-act in grad school called “Wish of an Almost Widow” that got produced at a local theatre in Redlands, CA. It’s a drama set during the Dust Bowl that I later developed into a full-length play, but I felt I never quite captured what the one-act did. Towards the end of its single performance, there was a woman in the audience behind me, crying. It was one of the best sounds I’ve ever heard.
 
GH: How is your life as a playwright the same or different than you envisioned when you first got accepted to your MFA program?
 
MG: Picture a thin, long-haired blonde sitting alone outside of Starbucks in Hollywood, dressed in Ann Taylor, a sleek lap-top and a latte that’s being temporarily ignored while she finishes a phone call with a director in New York who’s about to begin rehearsals for her newest play. Her desktop is crowded with dozens of completed plays and screenplays, many of which have been produced or recently submitted to theatres or competitions around the world. She is waiting for the other members of her weekly writing group to show up, and wonders if she has time to book her flight to NYC before they arrive.
 
Now picture a not-so-thin, scraggly-haired brunette, sandwiched between a three and a five year old on a couch in her living room in Georgia, dressed in her pajamas, a scratched-up lap-top and cold coffee that’s being temporarily ignored while she finishes a phone call to her husband who is about to pick up the milk and bread they need from the store. Her desktop is crowded with dozens of ungraded essays, many of which will be filled with grammatical errors like “He would of seen it,” and “The facts shows its true.” She is waiting for the dryer buzzer to go off, and wonders if she can squeeze in an hour today to outline an idea for a play that’s been nagging at her, but before she can give it another thought, her son plants a big wet kiss on her shoulder.
 
So, yeah, it’s pretty different. But aside from needing to create more writing time, I wouldn’t change a single thing.

End of Part 1

Grandpa Hank here once again. Picture him running around with his arms over his head like Kermit the Frog backstage at the Muppet Show yelling “THIS IS WHY WE DO WRITER INTERVIEWS!”

Stay tuned for Part II coming up later in the week.

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Way To Go, Ron Walters!

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Writer Interviews | 0 comments

Congrats to Grandpa Hank’s interviewee Ron Walters, whose novel “The Watchmaker” has made the semifinals in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novelist Award! Check out his first two chapters here and if you can, leave a review. Also, check out Ron’s interview from February where he talks about writing “The Watchmaker.”

Congrats, Ron. Grandpa Hank takes all the credit for no reason whatsoever other than it’s my blog and nobody is going to stop me from blatantly fibbing about where all the credit lies.

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Grandpa Hank’s Writer Interview – Ron Walters (Part II)

Posted by on Feb 3, 2014 in Writer Interviews | 1 comment

Grandpa Hank’s Writer Interview – Ron Walters (Part II)

When last we left Ron, he was making metaphors about poop. What can he possibly do for an encore?

GRANDPA HANK: Tell us a little about your favorite project.

RON WALTERS: My favorite project changes depending on what I get around to starting and actually finishing. I’ll always love my first book, even though it’s been indefinitely tucked away. I think the idea is great—dude’s girlfriend tries to sacrifice him to a demon, she botches the summoning ceremony, he gets stuck with the demon—but it needs a fairly extensive structural overhaul.

So, at the moment, my favorite project is the young adult novel I just finished writing. It’s called The Watchmaker. I’m getting it ready to enter into the Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Contest. The first paragraph of my pitch-in-progress currently reads:

“Pocket watches aren’t supposed to electrocute you. They aren’t supposed to dump someone else’s war-torn memories into your brain, either. Unfortunately for 17-year-old Aaron Taylor, he’s got his hands on the one watch that does both.”

It’s set in Prague, and is full of spies, crazy scientists, a bit of teen angst, and loads of other awesome stuff including chase scenes and massive explosions. I think people will love it. That said, it was a giant pain in the ass to write. I started it last spring, gave up over the summer, then picked it back up because of writer’s guilt (which is far, far worse than Catholic guilt ever was) and actually finished it. This is another hard rule to follow, especially for novice writers such as myself: Finish what you start.

GH: What is your definition of success as a writer? Have you achieved it? And if you haven’t, how will you know when you do?

In a nutshell: I want to be able to walk into a bookstore and see a book I wrote sitting on one of the shelves.

For the time being, finally getting a short story published has been pretty awesome. It’s called “Glitch,” and is up at Devilfish Review. (It’s also getting reprinted at Hogglepot in February.)

Editor’s note: If you didn’t get a chance to read it in the previous blog, check out “Glitch” here.

I will say that, with everything I write, I see my skills as a writer growing. I personally think I’m good enough now to be a safe bet for any publisher, but even if I’d happen to land a book deal, it doesn’t mean I’d stop evolving and bettering myself as a writer.

GH: How did you feel when you found out that your story was going to be published at Devilfish? What were your immediate thoughts?
 
RW: I honestly wasn’t expecting to see “We love your story and want to publish it.” I’d already run up several rejections, and was expecting the usual “Thanks for submitting your story, but sadly, we’re going to have to pass.” Occasionally an editor would add something like, “We think you’re a great writer, and your story is interesting, but it just didn’t fit our thematic needs.” You know, the writing equivalent of, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
 
The thing is, I knew it was a good story. I know that sounds cocky, but any writer worth their salt knows whether what they’re working on is good or bad. Yes, there’s a certain amount of arrogance involved—I for one believe I’m a better writer than loads of published authors—but that’s mostly just a way of combating the doubt. Because for as much arrogance as writers possess, I’m almost positive we require a nearly equal amount of self-doubt. I swear that most writers are moderately bipolar. One minute you’ll be like, “This is the most amazing thing every put to paper,” and the next you’ll be all, “Oh my god, this is so bad it’s going to make people burn all their books and never want to read anything ever again.” But the more you write, the more you learn to recognize what’s working and what isn’t. And I knew that “Glitch” worked. I just needed to find an editor who agreed with me.
 
Once I got over the initial shock, I couldn’t stop grinning. I reread the email from Devilfish probably twenty times that morning. I signed the contract, and then I got to do something I’d never done before – send out withdrawal notices to the other journals where I’d already submitted the story.
 
The extra awesome thing (and I swear that I’ll stop babbling, but come on—FIRST PUBLISHED SHORT STORY!) is that one of the journals from which I’d withdrawn my story wrote me back to ask if they could reprint it. Seeing that email was nearly as great a feeling as when I saw the email from Devilfish accepting my story the first time.
 
Okay, I’m done. Next question.
 
GH: Has living outside the United States for so long influenced your writing?

RW: I’ve lived in Germany for eleven years now. I’ve definitely picked up a more worldly perspective since moving here, but I am still very much an American writer. I’d say that moving overseas has influenced my writing to the extent that I’ve met people from other countries and been places I might never have visited, all of which gets stored somewhere in my brain. For example, The Watchmaker is set in Prague. I never would have even attempted to pull off the setting or historical connections if I hadn’t been there several times.

GH: Mini-story time. Finish this sentence and add on however you feel. “How did all this blood end up in the…..”

RW: “How did all this blood end up in the shampoo bottle?”

“Oh, that’s where I put it. Sorry, it’s been a really long day. Here, let me have it.”

I held onto the oversized bottle. “You didn’t answer my question.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Leonard. Hand it over.”

“Right, because my question is totally off base.”

Sarah sighed. “What else was I supposed to do with it?”

“Oh, I don’t know. The fridge comes to mind. Blood isn’t exactly shelf-stable.”

Sarah shook her head. “Don’t be such a worrywart. It’s only a few hours old. And besides, it’s not like you’re drinking it or anything.”

I turned the bottle upside down and watched the blood ooze along the inside. “It looks different than last time. Where’d you get it anyway?”

“Sea turtle.”

“What? Jesus, Sarah, those things are endangered! Are you trying to get us arre—”

“Fuckin’ a. Calm down, Leonard. I didn’t drain a sea turtle.”

“Thank god.” I narrowed my eyes. “So where did you get it?”

She nodded toward the moonlit backyard. “You know that pelican that’s always hanging out on the dock?”

My eyes widened as I stared into the darkness. “You killed Mr. Humperdink?”

“He had it coming.”

“Poor guy.” I hefted the bottle. “Pelicans have this much blood in them?”

“Apparently so.” She flapped her hand. “Gimme.”

“Can’t I do it this time?” I said, passing the bottle to her.

“You know Edgar doesn’t like it when someone else draws the sigils.”

“Fine.”

“You ready?”

I nodded, taking a deep breath as I tried to center myself. The conversion was much less painful when I wasn’t anxious.

“Alright,” Sarah said, squirting a splodge of blood into the palm of her hand. “Now take off your clothes.”

END OF INTERVIEW

Thanks to Ron for his time and for proving that you can indeed give detailed, thoughtful answers in the space your kids leave you between tantrums.

photo credit: szeke via photopin cc

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Grandpa Hank’s Writer Interview – Ron Walters (Part I)

Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in Writer Interviews | 1 comment

Grandpa Hank’s Writer Interview – Ron Walters (Part I)

Wooohooo, it’s interview time again. This time we’re headed to the wonderful world of fiction to speak with an incredibly imaginative writer out of Bitburg, Germany by way of Savannah, Georgia. His name – Ronald Walters. (Note: Read that last line in a James Earl Jones style voice. Here, I’ll give it to you again so you can hear it with the same resonant timber that Ron’s introduction deserves.)

His name – Ronald Walters.

Thanks for that wonderful introduction James Earl.

Ron is a stay-at-home father who has been tirelessly working on novels and short stories for the better part of a decade. Before moving to Germany (where he assures us that beer is blessedly cheaper than water) he worked as a reporter for a small town newspaper and supervised a college registrar’s office. I believe he’s the perfect person to interview for this blog because he represents so much of what being a writer is about. After many years of rejections and refining his craft, he’s finally broken through, getting at least a small dose of notoriety for his work, which you can check out here

Ron has a lot of great stuff to say about how he’s gotten to where he is, his favorite projects, and his definition of success. Enjoy.

GRANDPA HANK: Can you identify what tends to spark your stories if anything?

RON WALTERS: For what it’s worth, this was the hardest of your questions to answer. So thanks for starting with it.

If I do have anything like a muse or story spark, the fickle bastard lives inside my car. I’ll be driving along, trying to add up the numbers my four-year-old likes to throw at me (“What’s 152 plus 52? What’s 4 plus 87 hundred plus sixty-ten? What’s 3 plus 162-ten-forty?”), when all of a sudden a character appears in my head and is all, “Hey.”

Usually said character shows up with some sort of fantastical or supernatural baggage. If I’m lucky, he or she also lives somewhere. If they don’t, I’m kind of screwed because for some reason if I don’t have a setting in mind, it’s really hard for me to start a story. Settings are kind of my anchor, I guess.

However, until I sit down and start writing, I have no idea what the story is about. I’m not a planner. Believe me, I’ve tried. What I’ve learned is that attempting to outline a potential story is the surest way to kill it, at least for me. It works for other people, and more power to them. If I personally want something to work, I just have to let the words flow and not think about what I’m writing – which I know sounds super cheesy, and doesn’t make much sense, but such is my writing life.

Tangentially, I’m not the kind of writer who has a notebook full of ideas. When an idea does hit me, it’s usually completely unexpected. Sometimes I jot it down, sometimes I don’t. But I’ve learned that if it’s a really good idea—something I feel compelled to write about—it will stick in my head and start fermenting. I know, I like living life on the edge. I’m hardcore like that.

Overall though, I tend to gravitate toward stories in which an everyman sort of character finds himself caught up in a paranormal, urban fantasy type of situation.

Also, something usually explodes. Did I actually answer the question?

GH: Yes, Ron. You answered that question, but there’s a second and more treacherous question lurking. – How is your writing career different or the same than you envisioned when you first decided you wanted to be a writer?

RW: One word: Kids. Any notion of following “the rules” for writing got tossed out with the first soggy diaper. When you have kids, you cram in your writing time whenever and wherever you can. The problem for me is, I’m a morning person. But in order to wake up before my kids and be productive, I’d have to get up around 3 AM, and that’s just not going to happen. I’ve tried writing at night, but by the end of the day I’m totally burned out so I tend to write when my youngest is taking a nap. For that hour or two, my oldest gets to binge on cartoons.

When I’m actively writing—I’m a recent convert (by necessity, I guess) to the idea that you don’t have to write every single day, or even every week. I shoot for 2K words a day. (Editor’s note: He means “two thousand” not that he writes “kickboxing” and “kaboom” and calls it quits.) On a good day I can write around a thousand words an hour. Just imagine how many books I could write in a given year if I didn’t have kids! (Second editor’s note: Ron loves his kids dearly, he’s simply making a point.) Of course, then I’d probably have to get a job—I’m a stay-at-home dad, which is not without its frustrations, but for a writer is actually a pretty decent gig.

To be honest, though, I didn’t decide I wanted to be a writer until sometime in my mid-20s. I worked on my high school newspaper, cranked out college literature essays like no one’s business, and then after college got a job as a reporter for The St. Augustine Record. (St. Augustine, Florida) I always knew I had some sort of aptitude for writing. But it wasn’t until The Record that I realized two things…

One, I could actually write fairly well, and on a pretty strict deadline. (My personal best was when I had to write four articles between noon and 5PM on a Friday, without any prior prep on any of them.) And two, newspaper writing wasn’t the sort of writing I wanted to do. I kept trying to write more “flowery,” and that just doesn’t fly for most newspapers. At that point, I started writing really, really, really horrible “literary” short stories that were mostly flashbacks and had next to nothing in the way of plot or forward momentum. This went on for several years, until one day about six months after my first daughter was born, something clicked. I finally wrote an actual book. Which leads into the next question …

GH: What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome so far as a writer?

RW: Writing an actual book. The idea of writing an entire novel is still daunting, and I’ve done it twice now. Before I wrote the first, the most I’d ever written was maybe a 4,000-word short story. But then my wife came across NaNoWriMo, and I decided to give it a whirl. The idea is, you’ve got the month of November to write a book. That’s right, 30 DAYS to write a book. It’s madness. But I did it. I managed 58,000 words. The “book,” if you can even call it that, was utter crap. But I’d never written so many words about a single topic in my entire life. And that became my watershed. Granted, I didn’t sit down and finally write what I consider my first actual book for another year and a half. But I’d broken my word count barrier, and that’s what mattered.

When I did finally write my first “real” book, what ultimately helped was letting my mind go, the whole not thinking about what I was doing while I was doing it. To borrow a phrase from a novelist I once interviewed, I had to learn how to enter a writing “dream state.” It sounds hokey, but it’s true. Also, I wrote the first draft on an iPhone 3. Crazy as it sounds, the small screen helped me ignore what I’d written and focus instead on moving forward. This was huge for me. I can rework a single sentence for days if I let myself, but that sort of behavior belongs in the editing phase, which was something else I had to learn. Namely, you’ve gotta wait to wipe away the unnecessary crap until you’re done pooping out the rough draft.

See what parenting has done to my metaphors?

GH: As a new parent, I can relate. All my metaphors involve poop. But that was true long before my kid arrived.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of the Ron Walters interview next week!

photo credit: szeke via photopin cc

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Writer Interview – Allen Ivers (Part II)

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Writer Interviews | 0 comments

In the follow up to the worldwide phenomenon that was Allen Ivers interview Part I, we bring you Allen Ivers Revisited.

Or Allen Ivers Strikes Back

Or Allen Ivers with a Vengeance…

Or 2 Allen 2 Ivers.

GRANDPA HANK: Describe your favorite project.

ALLEN IVERS: My favorite project is my White Whale, a script called Possession about an ordinary guy fighting against the sarcastic, sinister demon that’s taken hold of him. I’ve been writing it for going on seven years. I’ll bury it as a dead idea, and sixteen months later, when looking for something new, a thought occurs – I should resurrect that.

It’s had many titles, and like much of my work, has suffered through a multitude of iterations. Not revisions, iterations. Sometimes, whole genre shifts. If you tracked each draft, you could see the DNA of my changes, but if you compared the ends of the chain – they are two completely different projects.

GH: Is this your most successful project?

AI: It is definitely not my most successful project, although my most successful project to date shares similar traits – namely, the variety of versions. It began as a “How I Met Your Mother” knock-off, then became my thesis, (with a more “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” flair) which turned into a webseries, and now it’s back to a half-hour show with a “Chuck”/”Burn Notice” kind of feel.

I can’t say too much about it, as it’s still an ongoing monster. I’m working with a colleague on it, and we plan to shop it in the near future. Several companies have already expressed interest, and I’ve got my fingers crossed harder than I care to think about.

GH: What was the story behind this particular project? How did it come together?

AI: The story here comes largely from my manager. I re-wrote the project and filmed it at UC-Riverside, largely to prove our writing program could in fact double as a full-blown film school. It was a statement, a flag in the ground. While I was proud of what I did, I also learned many things about my writing style during filming. In other words – it’s funny, but for the love of God, move the plot along.

It was my manager who fell in love with the raw concept, and urged me to rewrite it. She called it my “Family Guy.” That put more stress on me than I thought it would, so we set out to make it. But it was a quirky story originating from a rather dark concept with some dark content matter, so I thought it was going to need a primer – something to prove it could work. So the webseries concept was born. I wrote the script, even met with a few potential directors, all who liked the project.

It was my current collaborator, whose name I’ll keep under wraps for now, who suggested it didn’t need the primer if the half-hour show had a few minor tweaks. A few major tweaks later, and I had a draft I was very confident in. And after some slight polishes, we’re gonna fire up the rockets and see what happens here in the near future. I assume at that point, I’ll be drinking heavily and trying to control my blood pressure.

GH: And now a random prompt. Finish this sentence however you’d like.

“Holy crap, that bear is…..”

AI: Jack couldn’t even finish the sentence, but we all knew what his quiet hissing inferred. The half-ton wall of dense muscle, wiry fur, and yellowed teeth loomed over the camp, standing right on top of the dead campfire. Faint wisps of smoke caught the moonlight, a glowing backdrop against the creature’s eight-foot height. It didn’t growl, it didn’t roar, it didn’t whisper. And neither did the forest as we all held our breath, too scared to reboot our collective pulses.

“It’s just….” Jack, breathless, tried to express some part of his shock, like he could verbalize it right out of his body. The bear cocked its head, focus shifting to the one who would break this somehow solemn silence.

I swallowed, trying to wet my parched mouth. I whispered to Jack, but the words of warning couldn’t escape my throat. Don’t run.

Jack’s hands were shaking. I don’t know if he heard me or whether he was simply too scared to do anything else, but he stood his ground, eye to eye with an animal that could cleave his head from his shoulders with only a casual effort. It peered at him, two eyes flashing with reflecting light. Jack’s lips moved, but this time, not a sound. His voice stolen.

I stepped forward. Not far, maybe half a foot. But the dirt rustled at my feet.

And the bear turned, slumping down onto all fours, and sauntered off. Like it had a bad case of the Mondays and just didn’t have any more time to spare on our shit. It just left, one lumbering step after another.

We didn’t so much catch our breath, as it caught up with us.

End of interview.

Thanks again to Allen for his time and the insightful answers. And also for answering the prompt with more than “Holy crap, that bear is brown,” or “Holy crap, that bear is pooping on a wolf.”

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