NS: You have this way of encapsulating the world through the eye of the writing (vs. author), which is quite something to pull off. There is a great book called The Object Stares Back where the author considers how the world changes as you give your attention to it. You do this very well in both of your pieces. It’s true flash fiction. Unselfconscious and true to form. Can you let us in on how you see the world, what inspires you to write in such a densely narrative fashion that transforms the reader?
Zach: I try to see the world in its subtleties, the ones that stare us in the face most often. I find myself more and more jotting down the way bubbles look in the first cup of coffee after a hangover, rather than focusing on the headache. Those are the things I try to target in my writing. There is always a metaphor, but I think that if as writers we can twist it an extra turn, it will stand alone and we won’t need to support it with extra lines. Specificity is the key or at least what I shoot for. I like to think I key in on things people miss sometimes.
NS: How much does writing drive you in your life? How do you incorporate it?
Zach: I write every day. Sometimes I manage to sit down and write three or four poems or maybe a short piece from my day, a lot like keeping a journal. When I’m busy, which seems to be more often than not, I write down things when I see them, and then later try to find them in my books or the back of my hand and compile them into a folder that I use as fodder for piecing things together. So writing is my thing, and I get quite anxious sometimes if I can’t get anything on a page. It’s a priority to everyday living for me.
NS: When did you first know you were a writer? What quirky things do you want to share about what inspires you to write?
Zach: I realized that I had a love for writing as a junior in high school, but I wouldn’t say that I felt like a writer until my sophomore year of college. I wrote poetry and performed it with a slam group on campus, and when I started getting approached the day after shows and thanked for saying something important it really hit me. That’s a major compliment to hear from a stranger, so I took it serious from then on. I find inspiration from two of my friends more often than not. They are just great people and we take road trips or hangout with a couple of six packs and talk about how life would be if we were in the fifties with the beats. I get a lot of inspiration from thinking about what other people see, so I people watch a lot, but I’m not a weirdo. I just place myself in their shoes and let it take me for a walk.
NS: What are your hopes and dreams of writing?
Zach: I’m split between two major goals. One is to earn my PhD and work with a creative writing program teaching creative writing. The other is to own my own press or journal and publish writers and take them out on the road to tour and sell books. I think living on the road touring would be such an awesome and enlightening experience, which would surely fuel more to write about and prove that poetry isn’t dead.
NS: What compelled you to submit to CR Stories?
Zach: I was prompted to look CR up by a professor and mentor of mine, Laurie Cannady. After reading the winter and spring issues, I wanted to send in because the people who have written left something in my mind, and I wanted to be part of something that leaves that mental footprint. That is powerful writing, and thank you very much for including me in such a great caliber of writers. There is a certain simplicity in CR that sticks out and refreshes you I think, and that’s an awesome feeling.
NS: Authors you love and why?
Zach: My first poetry love was Charles Bukowski, I think he was strong as I began to develop as a writer. He is easy for anyone, even nonreaders to get into and he talks about real life situations. Jack Kerouac is my favorite novelist. They are both tattooed on me actually. My favorite present day poet is Derrick Brown, that guy is incredible and the way he writes makes me want to dance.
NS: Your writing pulls me in the way Henry Miller’s writing does. It has a pithy texture and a healthy strong heart. Anything you want to say about that?
Zach: There is nothing without heart. And I will be reading more Henry Miller now, thanks.
NS: Anything else you want to add?
Zach: Thank you so much for everything, I am really humbled and honored to be part of CR. I cant wait to see where the road takes me next. I plan on touring through the year while preparing for applications to Grad school. Other than that I just want to enjoy each day as it comes.