Writing is a self-reflective and sometimes, self-reflexive process depending upon the subject matter. Great writing has the ability to transport readers to another place, time, or planet (or elsewhere) and instruct, inform, intrigue and enlighten.
Of contemporary works, there are few that bridge the chasm between fiction and poetry, and even fewer that do so very well. Experimental literature has, I believe, always been on the forefront of every contemporary time period only later to be classified as stylistic bodies of evolving works, “Romanticism,” “Surrealism,” “Transendentalism,” to name a few. When these movements were current, perhaps they had no names, perhaps they were just the next phase of the written word developed by writers who dared ask the question: “What can we try next?” and then proceeded to attempt an answer.
Sandy Florian’s work is one such example of the now ambiguous, nameless, 21st-century experimental form. Her works stretch reality, introduce abstract concepts, function subversively, comment on politics and religion, question the literary canon, and create new ways of seeing the seemingly mundane—all within the parameters of graceful syntax and a skillful mastery of language that even the best lyricists can envy.
Florian’s work pushes the boundaries of what we know as poetry and what we thought we knew of fiction, and sends us headlong, plunging into an oceanic abyss of language where we absolve ourselves as readers, wade awhile there amongst her characters and verbs and alliterative allegories, discard what we thought we knew as reality, question whether it is, in fact, an ocean through which we wade, rediscover every molecule that comprises that body of water, and eventually reemerge from that abyss, the only place left from which we can be rescued, and only by the life saving attributes of Florian’s penultimate lines, where we can surface again to see the world with different eyes.
Her work is living, breathing proof that Everything is Connected, and I’m honored to have had the opportunity to have a bit of fun with an unconventional interview with Sandy.
Getting to Know Sandy
One place that Sandy hasn’t yet visited in the world, but would like to see:
Sandy’s favorite book(s):
Sandy’s favorite movie:
Sandy’s favorite food:
What is the one surefire thing that you do that always puts you in the creative zone to write something new?
“Waking up. The thing that gets me out of bed in the morning, as early as 5 a.m. and without alarm, is the absolute obsession to write. I’ll write at any hour of the day, but it’s the quiet times before my world wake that I feel most at home with my work.”
One little known interesting fact about you that you would like to share with readers:
“I used to be a trapeze artist.”
Now, let’s have some Fun with Florian!
What themes have you been writing about lately and why are they exciting?
“I think my work is always about language and its materiality. Its floppiness, its flimsiness, its ooziness…”
What’s the onomatopoeia for “writer”?
“It’s a little like the Yogi OM but it sounds more like HOME.”
Fill in the blank, Clichés are:
“Necessary, important, and need to be understood well in order to be undone properly. My favorite cliché is “That is so cliché.'”
Write a flash fiction piece that begins with that cliché saying. Include a baseball player and a criminal in 250 words or less.
That is so cliché is the sign that hangs over your eyelid as you think about all the baseball players and felons you have encountered. You should examine your most felonious criminal, and evaluate the needs of her membrane. While her throttles may drone to excavators of the past, you must remember that you are still able to vomit your own throat, today and every day. So don’t settle for prickles that don’t build the pepper. Instead, unstick your eyelids, and rearrange the letters in the sign the reads, That is so cliché.
30 years from now, you are being recognized with a lifetime achievement award in poetry (prose? literature? textual arts?). I am introducing you to the audience present when you receive the award. Write my speech, which introduces to you. Include what scholars now call the “movement” to which your work belongs.
“Lump around, audience, lump around. We are gathered together today to honor the great Sandy Florian, master of tragic stagecoach comedies that conflate truckers with palindromes in the wreckage. Why, her sentences about peppermint practically pioneered the schoolboy suspender movement, and for that we are eternally grapefruits. So spruce up your vodkas, and screw in those earholes. Please welcome the great Sandy Florian.”
Make sure to return for the next post with Sandy where we’ll have some more fun and learn about her upcoming publications!
Copyright © 2013 Kelly Lydick