Kristin Kozlowski talks about her life as a writer and her essay “A Pocket of Air,” from issue 6 of Arkana.
Interview conducted by Arkana Staff.
Arkana: Many writers consider coffee sacrosanct, but you don’t drink it. What writing rituals do you observe?
Kristin: Honestly, there aren’t many writing rituals that I observe other than sit down and write. And even that, I write on the go more often than I write while actually sitting. I don’t have an office or a desk or any set place to sit down and create, so I write wherever I can find space and time: in my car or on a park bench during a lunch break, at the bus stop while waiting for my kids to get home from school, in bed before I go to sleep. The first draft of almost every piece I’ve published in the last two years was written on the Pages App on my phone. For instance, A POCKET OF AIR was written on my phone while standing at my kitchen counter just after I got my kids off to school but before I needed to get ready for work.
Arkana: Can you give us an update on your novel in progress?
Kristin: It’s still in progress! It’s a novel in flash, which I’m very excited about. I have been writing in the flash form for a few years now and it’s really found its way into my heart. With my life – three small children and a non-writing full-time job – writing, rewriting and editing longer forms can be difficult. With the novel in flash, I have an easier time because I can look at each piece separately, and then sew them together to make something whole. So far, it’s working.
Arkana: Is there a writer whose work has been inspirational or evocative as you’ve developed your own voice and style?
Kristin: There is a whole dispatch of women writers publishing in the flash fiction or CNF field that have helped me push the boundary of short literature, either from a voice or style perspective: Dina L. Relles, Marisa Crane, Kathy Fish, Madeline Anthes, Megan Pillow, Allie Marini, and K.B. Carle, to name a few. It’s difficult to create a cohesive story – one packed with dialogue and emotion and a sense of worth, etc. – into a few hundred words, but these women make it look easy.
Also, Jill Talbot’s memoir, THE WAY WE WEREN’T, really inspired me to write about those relationships closest to me, those that are the most raw and, consequently, the most terrifying to dissect. She’s a beautiful beast and everybody should read her work.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the writers in the writing group I belong to, Konrad Wardh and Nathan Prince, for helping me develop my voice. Even though they write in longer forms, they have been instrumental in my growth as a writer. Definitely check all of these writers out!
Arkana: What are you reading?
Kristin: I’m a big supporter of the online literary journal world. I regularly read new issues (or ongoing publications, as the case might be) of Pidgeonholes, Lost Balloon, Jellyfish Review, Longleaf Review, and The Forge Literary Magazine, to name a few.
I just finished GHOSTOGRAPHS by Maria Romasco Moore (Rose Metal Press), which is a hybrid work of flash fiction and old photographs. YEAR 14 by Michael Konik (Barrelhouse Books) and WE ARE NEVER MEETING IN REAL LIFE by Samantha Irby (Vintage Books) are also on my bedside table.
Arkana: Aside from Arkana, are there any other recent publications, projects, or opportunities you are excited about?
Kristin: I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for honoring me as a winner of Arkana’s Editor’s Choice Award. It is a highlight in my writing journey.
More excitement this year comes from being selected as a CNF reader for Longleaf Review (http://longleafreview.com). I have learned so much about the structure of a story just by reading incoming submissions. I recommend any writer who submits to literary journals volunteer to read for one at some point.
On the writing front, I have a piece of flash fiction, MENDING BODIES, selected for publication in Lost Balloon (https://lost-balloon.com), a dream journal of mine. This piece went through so many edits and rewrites that I’m excited it will be presented to the world soon. It should be available online in November 2019. I also received word that I am a finalist in The Forge Literary Magazine’s Forge Flash Competition in the nonfiction category for 2019 (https://forgelitmag.com/2019/10/04/forge-flash-competition-results/). Even though I didn’t take home top prize, it is an amazing feeling to know that I wrote a piece of literature that resonated with someone enough to advocate for it during the competition.