Flash fiction often captures particularly moments in time. Are there moments you find yourself returning to for inspiration?
Oh, sure. Nostalgia fuels my creativity. Some memories are more painful to write about than others, but for me writing has always been a form of purging. I like taking something that may have been difficult to deal with and turning it into something else in creative fiction. I also like to embellish the good stuff and make it more fantastical. Fiction writing is good for that.
Do you have any previously published pieces you’re particularly proud of?
I was happy to see my story “The Beast” accepted by Garden Gnome Publications back in 2014. I am pretty proud of that one. Here is the link: http://gardengnomepubs.com/beast/
What do you find to be the hardest about consolidating and writing stories as flash fiction?
Figuring out which details are important enough to keep, and presenting them in as few words as possible can be difficult. However, I like flash fiction because I have trouble with character building. I have yet to create a character I wanted anything to do with after one story. I also think up scenes a lot. The challenge in flash fiction is creating a story around that short scene. It can be tempting to write on about particular details or have too much dialogue, and sometimes during editing, it can be hard to let those parts of your story go.
This story is sweet but creepy. Was this something you knew of or had experienced?
I am Ojibwe, and some of us are big on the concept of ghosts and spirits. I have experienced many things that may or may not have been “supernatural”. (It’s all up for debate, of course!) Winds can be considered spiritual in my culture, and we do believe that the spirits of our ancestors speak to us on them. I lost my Grandmother at age 16, and this piece was written while I was reminiscing about her, but the story within my story is from my imagination. I was up listening to the wind howling outside, and the idea for the story came to be.
How would you react if you’d heard the wind knock back?
I already experience loads of anxiety when I hear an unexpected knock on my door, so my heart would definitely feel like it didn’t exist anymore. Honestly, I’m not big on “testing the spirits” so to speak, so I wouldn’t have even “invited anything in” by knocking three times on the door in the first place. I prefer to let “paranormal activity” just happen when it happens. I feel I can handle those mysteries better than if I “asked for it” and something totally wild and uncanny happened. Having my own hand involved in something creepy or unexplained that happens is a lot more unsettling to me.
You can read Jennifer Patino’s flash fiction piece, “The Night the Wind Knocked Back” in Issue Six of The Ginger Collect.