PN Interviews Neutrino Short-Short Prize Judge T. Clutch Fleischmann
The judge for this year's Neutrino Short-Short Prize is T. Clutch Fleischmann, author of Syzygy, Beauty (Sarabande Books), curator of Body Forms: Queerness and the Essay (Essay Press), writer-in residence at Columbia College Chicago, and a nonfiction editor at DIAGRAM. They spoke with Associate Editor Jacob Hall about the theory and craft of the short-short genre.
Jacob Hall: What excites you about short-shorts as a genre?
T. Clutch Fleischmann: I love short writing in particular because of the way it so often sits outside of genre, hitting some spot that traditional genre categories can't always reach---thinking of what happens to narrative, to image, to voice, to concept, when they live within the (limits of) the short form. The way I so often inhabit short writing is all about returning, coming again and then immediately again to something that changes as I read it, that exists as much beyond its limits as within them. If longer writing lets me get lost in its rhythms and motions, lets me live in it, short writing is a thing that I carry with me, that might even become a part of my own rhythms and motions, the way I can hold it.
JH: What makes an individual short-short great to you? What do you look for?
TCF: So many things! I hesitate to say what I look for in any pointed way, as my favorite writers of short forms all offer such different things. I want to say here, "a moment of thought," that short-shorts can get me into a pulse of thinking, or a breath of experience. A great short is mysterious in this way, that thinking and experience are mysterious, extending beyond themselves. Maybe the simplest way to say it is that after reading a great short, I am eager both to move away from it, to sit in the silence that follows, and to encounter it again. That seems like the surest sign something meaningful has happened.
JH: What else should we know about you? What are you reading right now?
TCF: I'm so excited about my reading pile right now, thank you for asking. I have near me Jackie Wang's Carceral Capitalism, Myriam Gurba's Mean, the anthology Writers Who Love Too Much, Juliana Huxtable's Mucus in My Pineal Gland, Douglas A. Martin's Acker, and Sung Yim's What About the Rest of Your Life. I feel so grateful for all of these books! I think that's what I'd like you to know about me, that I am excited about these books today, and that I want you to read them, too.