Laura van den Berg interviews Aaron Burch

Laura van den Berg talks to contributor Aaron Burch:
Your series of short-short stories, “Overcast,” appear in Memorious 12. Can you tell us a little about how the stories came to be? Are they part of a series?

Sure. Yeah, they are part of a series. I wrote one (I believe my first “Overcast” was this one, originally on elimae) and I was pretty happy with it and, you know, it sat there. It felt a little different than the voice of other stuff I was working on, which I liked. And then, some time later, I felt like I had another idea that kind of fit with that original short – I kind of wished I could go back and add it in or something but, at the same time, the original piece didn’t need it. I liked it on its own. So I wrote the new idea as its own short and I was happy enough with that too, but I was kind of frustrated that I’d already “used” the title “Overcast” because it felt like the perfect title for this new piece. Either that or I am just lazy and uncreative and bad at titles. Finally, I kind of decided, screw it, I’d just have two shorts with the same title and then, suddenly, it kind of grew into its own series. I think I have maybe 12-15 that I am happy with, and those were the start of ‘How to Predict the Weather,” which was a finalist in Keyhole’s chapbook contest, and then grew into the full-length book of shorts that Peter is going to put out, and the “Overcast” series, at least in my mind, are still kind of the achor to that project.

You edit the super awesome literary journal Hobart. What do you love/hate most about being an editor?

Hm. I really love most all of it. I don’t do much else by means of hobbies – I write, and I work on Hobart, and I hang out at the bar and drink and watch sports because I don’t have a TV to do that at home. Getting to publish a story that I’ve read and fallen in love with, and getting to be the person who is able to showcase that to a wider audience is probably my favorite aspect, and maybe one of my favorite things ever, Hobart-related or otherwise. The time and money is sometimes a drag, if I have to to say something negative. But because it’s an indie journal and it happens on whatever timeline we make it happen on, if it gets too tiring time-wise I just put it aside and don’t think about or work on it, so there really isn’t much, if any, hate being directed toward editing. If there was, it probably would have died by now. I guess the ongoing editor frustration is always that more people aren’t buying and reading this thing that I basically think is the best thing ever, and, specifically, that the submissions numbers are so enormously out of proportion to subscribers, but whatever. I’m selfish and probably doing this more for me than others anyway.

What are you reading now?

I’m mere days away from wrapping up the semester, so I both haven’t been doing much if any non-school reading, while also doing a ton of reading to avoid end-of-the-semester homework. I’ve been reading and rereading Brian Oliu’s Nintendo shorts. I have been trying to work my way through a bunch of Dalkey books – Toussaint, Patrik Orednik’s new Case Closed. Going to try to read Witz once I have some time. And lit journals. I’m always reading stories from lit journals.


What are you working on now?

Until about two days ago, I thought my thesis for grad school was going to be a story collection. I have one more year (my thesis year) and the collection is actually probably a good 80% done, give or take needing lots of editing to, you know, make it decent. So I was kind of excited about being a little lazy with a whole year to do whatever. Then I accidentally made some comment about that laziness and also mentioned kind of, sort of, a little bit wanting to try to crank out as much of a novel as possible in the next year and she jumped on that so, now, I am apparently “now” working on a novel. And napping. I’ve been doing some good work on my napping lately and have been making some pretty amazing progress.

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