Goldfish Grimm: If we could peek into your office (coffee shop, kitchen table, wherever you write), what would your writing process look like?
L. Lambert Lawson: I write in my garage, actually. On a treadmill desk. I’ve rigged a stand for my MacBook Pro, and I strap it in with bungee cords so it doesn’t fall off when I get to clacking and walking. This set-up sounds made up, but it’s real. #1k1hr isn’t just about word count; it’s also about calories.
GFG: What is it actually like?
LLL: It’s really a treadmill desk. And there are really bungee cords.
GFG: Was there anything in particular that inspired “ascent_dive.exe”?
LLL: I took an SFF fiction workshop with Cat Rambo, and she encouraged us to get a cheap notebook and just write everyday. The worse the notebook, the better. That way, we wouldn’t try to pen a first draft masterpiece, which never works. So I rustled up one of those bunny notebooks with the smartass comments that one of my friends gave me as we were leaving Peace Corps. I wrote a 10-minute freewrite every day for three months. Then I iced the notebook for three months, came back, and highlighted the flash pieces I thought could become something. Ascent_dive.exe came from one of those pieces. I second-drafted it, and it got only marginally better. I got some feedback on it, and one piece of feedback was to infuse it with something I actually cared about. Hence the thread about folks wanting public goods without having to pay for them or maintain them. There’s a current of complacency that leads to dissatisfaction despite everything being pretty much okay. Once I went in that direction, the piece felt done.
GFG: This story wrestles with a lot of big ideas in such a small space: the emergence of technology, pre-determination, self-destruction, etc. What connections do you see between the world of the story and our present day lives?
LLL: Self-destruction, really, is the main connection. We tear ourselves and others down sometimes for the sheer sport of it or because we’re not happy with where we are. Sometimes the institutions or people we’ve torn down are the very same that helped us get to where we are, the same people we might need in the future. A cutting off of one’s nose to spite one’s face. The story, I think, makes loose connections in that direction.
GFG: Do you have anything you’d like to plug or promote?
LLL: My publishing company, Kazka Press, has just put out an SFF short story anthology called The California Cantata. Beth Cato, Michael Haynes, Michael H. Payne, and a few other fine writers contributed stories to the collection. The stories, all speculative, deal with the history of one of California’s 58 counties. It’s available as an eBook from Amazon and Barnes & Noble for $3.99.
L. Lambert Lawson
L. Lambert’s work has appeared Every Day Fiction, Cast of Wonders, and Liquid Imagination Online, among other venues. He is the publisher of Kazka Press, an SF publisher. His non-fiction, based on his Peace Corps experience, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He tweets under the name @llambertlawson.