BJI: Could you give us some background on The Oughts?
RR: The Oughts is a story I’ve had in mind for literally years; for a long time I thought it was about a family, but every time I tried to write it I got stuck and couldn’t continue. I put it on the back burner but brought it back out every so often to see if I could make any new progress. Then one day a few months ago I was lying on the couch or something and I said to myself, “Okay, what if, instead of being about a family, it’s about a band?” And immediately the entire story flooded into my brain all at once, and I wrote it in just a couple of sessions.
BJI: Music can clearly influence WHAT people write. For you personally, can music influence HOW you write?
RR: Music can sometimes make or break a writing session for me. Usually I like to listen to instrumental music while I’m writing – classical stuff like Bach or Bartok, or else video game soundtracks – to keep the non-languagey side of my brain occupied. I don’t always listen to music when I write, but if I do it has to be just the right mood for what I’m working on; if it is, it will keep me going and enhance my enthusiasm for the piece, but if it’s wrong I’ll get distracted or just become blocked.
BJI: What was on your playlist while writing The Oughts?
RR: I was thinking about and listening to two-person bands like The White Stripes and Death From Above 1979. Also listening to a lot of this amazing Welsh punk band called Future of the Left. And also the soundtrack from the Scott Pilgrim movie.
BJI: What’s so great about short literature?
RR: Short literature is a lot more restrictive than most longer types of writing, which paradoxically can give a writer much more freedom to experiment without it getting tiresome. I think the perfect length for a story is ten pages; enough to develop a character and scenario, but not enough to let you get too self-indulgent. Also from a reader’s perspective, a great short story can be read over and over to discover new depths; and a short story that’s bad is finished pretty soon.
BJI: Last question. What excites you most about online/digital storytelling?
RR: The ability to discover new work so easily, just clicking links and recommendations from friends or people you trust and having that art instantly in front of you; conversely, the ability to share what you love with everyone you know all at once.
stories by Richard Rosenbaum