Gregg’s focused on flash fiction in the last couple years, and when he heard about this amazing, inspired project, he was thrilled to submit stories to be considered for the collection. He loves flash for its memorable ‘nuggets,’ and to use these to entertain a person who is memory impaired, well, it’s just a terrific idea.
Two flash pieces are included in the anthology, the first, Calling, is about two Irish sixteen-year-olds in a telephone box outside St. Mary’s in County Mayo, one calling her beau, the other relishing the closeness to her best friend. The second story, Ojos y Risas (Eyes and Smiles), centers on a mother, father, and son in a food van serving a drunk and bigoted customer. Both stories hope to deliver a message of tolerance, or love of diversity, by appreciating each other and ourselves as we try to express ourselves and make people see from a different perspective.
Both stories were inspired by local writers. The first from a photo prompt handed out during a wonderful (and free) Nancy Peacock’s ‘2nd Saturday’ sessions at Flyleaf Books. Nancy’s been doing this workshop for several years and so many writers appreciate this service to the literary community. She’s currently serving as the 2018 Piedmont Laureate. The other story was inspired by dear Jane Schlensky’s pitch about a food truck outside the prison where a death-row inmate waits execution.
Gregg primary goal as a writer “is to reach people and help people love reading and think, especially outside ourselves.” His proudest accomplishment includes his short fiction collection, My Father Moves Through Time Like a Dirigible published by Livingston Press in 2014 and the long-ago-now twice participation in the 24-hour Novel-Writing Contest, a 7 am-7am marathon, both “exhausting and exhilarating.”
His greatest challenges include plotting — “I’m so much more character-oriented, but as my wife says, something’s gotta happen in a story” — and self-discipline. The phrase more than one writer uses to motivate themselves, ‘butt in chair,’ is “as much a formula as I’ve got, but damn if something doesn’t happen when I follow this rule.”
More recently, Gregg’s been working on flash and longer short stories, especially using historical events affecting contemporary characters, a kind of historical fiction. He’s putting together another collection. He also has a novel, Watching Johnny Guitar, partly based on the 1954 western starring Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden and partly about a son’s quest to understand his father, a distant alcoholic who worked on the film. He’s trying to tackle the issue of “securing the right to use lines and describe scenes from the movie itself.”
If you’d like to read more of Gregg’s story, check out the book here: bit.ly/READFLASH
If you’d like to stay in touch with Gregg’s writing, well, he hopes to have his website, greggcusick.com back up soon, (he mumbles something about the Russians,) but you can always reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he even admitted that he'd enjoy hearing from you.
Anchala Studios, LLC is a micro press based in Chapel Hill, NC which selects projects appealing to broad audiences and which enrich the community. The Collection: Flash Fiction for Flash Memory is its first publication.