Monday Jul 22

BeckmanPaul Paul Beckman has published numerous short stories, flash & micro fiction. He's had two collections published; several stories adapted as plays and earned his MFA from Bennington College. Some publishing credits: Exquisite Corpse, ONTHEBUS, Connecticut Review, Soundzine, 5 Trope, Playboy, Web del Sol, Long Story Short & The Scruffy Dog Review. Others can be found at his published story website
Paul Beckman interview with Meg Tuite
What was your inspiration for “Touchy-Feely?”

People often say that they are "people watchers" which covers a lot of territory from being nosey, interested, transfixed or even repelled by someone they see and using the "people watcher" phrase gives them license to stare or point out or point out and talk about another person or persons.

I feel more like a "body language" watcher or connoisseur of the same. I like to try and match the expressions of people talking to how they move their hands, what their legs and feet are doing under the table or even if they are eating and not talking; and if that's the case I look for a wedding or engagement ring and conjure up a story of what they are thinking and not saying to each other. I pretend that I have the ability to see peoples cartoon-like "thought balloons" over their heads. For me this works and I've come up with many a plot line from my "body language" scenarios.

This method of body language watching became the basis for my story, but please don't tell anyone or others will start doing it and then I'll have to come up with something new.

What is your preferred writing schedule, if you have one?

My writing schedule is simple: I write early every morning-- 5 or 6--whenever I first wake, I'm at my most creative. I write to music and the music depends on what I'm writing. It's always instrumental and almost always classical or jazz. It's never loud. During the day I write notes in my pocket notebook or at times I've called my house and left a story line on my answering machine. Evenings and nights are my time to rewrite and read my story aloud to myself, which is something I always do. I never tell anyone what I'm writing about unless it's my son (who's also a writer) and we happen onto a discussion of something when we're together that brings a story to mind.

What book or books are you reading at the moment?

At this time I am reading The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, (just to make me feel inadequate).

Who would you say are some of your biggest influences in writing?

This is the toughest question because I love so many writers, that narrowing it down to just two or three is unfair to the others I've taken something from, so like most rules, which I perceive as suggestions, here is a brief list in no particular order: Raymond Carver, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Leonard Michaels, Andre Dubus, Grace Paley and I will stop here.

I love their power with words--Carver, Michaels waste none; Singer spins one perfect Yiddish story after another, Paley never left her Jewish Brooklyn roots when writing and Dubus tells stories that haunt and stay with me for long periods of time. I would like to have a monthly poker game with these writers or go off to "our" bar on a regular basis and just schmooze. I want to give and get noogies from them.

I love their power with words--the power they write with and the power they give me.

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