Sunday, July 29, 2012

Twitterstories: Interview with Darren Cormier

Darren Cormier is a talented writer from the Boston area. I'm honored to be able to introduce you to Darren and his recently released A Little Soul: 140 Twitterstories, which are all under 140 characters in length.

Tell us about A Little Soul: 140 Twitterstories:
The book was started in May 2011. I had been reading a lot of Lydia Davis at the time: she writes stories that are sometimes no longer than one line. I tried to write a few stories in her style and decided to post one per week to my blog as a means to drum up interest. The idea actually worked and I started developing a little bit of a following and generating a lot of positive feedback. So I thought, “Why don’t I compile 140 of these and self-publish it as an eBook.” I presented the idea to my editor, and I didn’t shoot it down. About a year later, upon first coming up with the idea for a recurring blog entry theme, “A Little Soul” was born.

What made you decide to write Twitterstories?
I started practicing writing under constraints a few years back. It started as an effort to hone in my natural tendencies as a vomit drafter and rambling style. I started with trying to write a story in a page and it would morph into experiments without using certain letters. Writing under constraints forces you to choose all your words very carefully. The 140 character constraint of Twitter was just a natural evolution.

Any big plans for release date? Any rituals, parties we should know about?
I decided to have a soft release for the eBook portion, which was released on June 14. The print version should be available by the end of July. It’s going to be a print-on-demand version. I am strongly considering a reading at a couple of small venues in the Boston area, but I haven’t decided yet.  Everyone within a 5000 mile radius of the Boston area will know about it, though.

What are you working on now?
Right now I am revising a novella which was the centerpiece of my MFA thesis. I have also started a few short stories and essays, but those are only in the nascent stage.

Why do you write?
There’s a lyric from the song “The Origin of Love” by John Cameron Mitchell from Hedwig and the Angry Inch " that summarizes exactly my intentions as a writer: “I could swear by your expression that the pain down in your soul was the same as the one down in mine."
I’ve always been the person who is most interested in knowing your ugliest feelings, in being someone who everyone confides their shit to. You always feel better after you’ve talked things out with someone. And part of me wants to take those emotions and use it to show the pain inside each of my characters (and us) and, hopefully, by showing that pain, help them (and us) heal.
Also I’m not really good at much else, and I’m not awful at writing. And I love the sound of typing.

Other than writing, what is your claim to fame?
I invented the giraffe. And I’m also the only person to win the Triple Crown in baseball and horse racing.
Honestly, I’m not sure. I once got kicked out of a Crate & Barrel because I fell asleep on one of the beds.

What is life with Darren like right now?
From the outside it’s not terribly exciting. I spend a lot of time either reading, writing, or working. I work a lot. But to me it’s actually exciting, as over the past year and a half I’ve slowly been accomplishing a lot of personal goals that I’ve always wanted to do: publish a book, have semi-regular work as a writer and reporter, run my first marathon—I’m training for my first in October.  I ran my first official half marathon Memorial Day weekend. And I’m going sky-diving later this summer. Achieving personal goals, however you define it, doesn’t always result in the most exciting stories and can actually be a very solitary endeavor, but as long as it means something to you, then it’s an achievement.

What turns you on?
Intelligence; glasses; a love of books; a slightly offbeat sense of humor; eyes; I had a thing for short hair for a long time; confidence; ambition; honesty.

 Visit Darren's Website

 Follow Darren on Twitter @DarrenCormier 
 Buy A Little Soul: 140 Twitterstories


Suzanne Shumaker said...

I love Darren's Twitter Stories... great interview too. Thanks for inventing the giraffe - good job on that one - lol :)

Christopher Chik said...

Glad to hear it's going to be in print. Where can we get that when it goes into the print on demand?

We all want to know how Tequila Mockingbird is coming along.

Darren Cormier said...

Thank you very much, Suzi!
And thanks for liking the giraffe. It was totally created by accident.

Darren Cormier said...

Thanks, Chris. The print-on-demand version is still not complete, but it will be available through the Harvard Book Store catalog.
We're still wrangling people for the "Tequila Mockingbird" project. Hopefully that will be started soon.

Rob Greene said...

There are four characteristics of poetry: line length, heightened use of sound (rhyme, alliteration), rhythm, and compression (using metaphor, symbols, etc. to say more with less). You need at least two of these characteristics to have a poem. There's not much rhyme nor rhythm in these Twitter stories, but they certainly have compression and (I would argue) line length. Why aren't you calling yourself a poet?

Beth Garland said...

Thanks for sharing Darren and his wit, Kelly. Darren, "Squirrel!"

Darren Cormier said...

Those are really good questions. Part of it is that I've always thought poets actively think about those characteristics when they write, and I don't actively think about them. I've always thought poets naturally fall into the "diamond polisher" school of writing and maybe there are more poets who are vomit drafters. I'm probably wrong on most of my assumptions.
I also just don't like labels.

David S. Rawding said...

Only a 5,000 mile radius of Boston will know about you and your book? We'll see what we can do about that. You the man, d-man.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

My blog has a huge following in Australia, Ireland and India. I think we've exceeded the 5000 miles. :)