CONTRIBUTOR SPOTLIGHT: INTERVIEW WITH
The fiction editors, Rappahannock Review: We’re thrilled to be introducing your work to our readers. How did you get started in writing?
Taylor Bostick: I can’t say for sure, or really at all why I liked to write when I was younger. I remember my grandmother was excited about it, when I said I wanted to be a writer in elementary school. There are a couple of old wire bound notebooks from around that time I really should find and hide. It was my AP English Language teacher in high school though who really got the ball rolling, though in my mind it’s more of a rock, a giant one, careening down a hill. I don’t know if it was anything my teacher said or did as much as it was the volume of writing we produced. Fiction. Nonfiction. There’s a folder of poetry somewhere on my computer I really should find and hide. And I can’t speak highly enough of my professors in college. They were supportive enough that I stuck with it—it’s the ego of a writing student that really has the life of a soap bubble—and just critical enough that I find myself, however slowly, learning.
RR: You seem to have a lot of familiarity with marathon running. Do you run marathons on a regular basis, or are you close to someone who does? Have you ever been beaten by a costumed runner?
TB: “Disaster” is the word I most frequently use to describe the one marathon I’ve run. Mile fourteen was in fact where I started to worry, and I can’t tell you much about mile seventeen, except that that was where I started to walk. I expect I was beaten by many costumed runners that day. It’s a deceptive rule though—a guy I know used to dress up ridiculously for local 5Ks and has now qualified for the Olympic Trials. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a anyone, male or female, dressed as Tinker Bell, but who’s to say I haven’t pushed a few details out of my mind?
RR: In what way would you say that long-distance running and marathons are similar to creative writing?
TB: I spend too much time thinking about both. Both make me happy most of the time, but not always. Both can be agonizingly long processes that require patience and frustration and blind dedication and can still end in a final product—a story, a race—that’s a flop. But both are always worth the effort.
RR: In your biography, you mention that you have a mind for science and have had several science-oriented careers. Would you say that having a love for both science and creative writing is a hindrance or a help when it comes to your writing?
TB: Both. A friend named Gabe once asked me, in reference to a story that dealt with the chemistry of drug testing in professional athletes, if I really, really needed to get all those technical details exactly right. If I couldn’t I cheat a little, simplify, smooth things out, for the sake of clarity. Those weren’t his exact words, but that was the gist of it, and he was probably right. But research is one of my favorite parts of developing story. Or at least of revising it, I try not to let anything scare me away when I’m trying to get words down on a blank page. And then I settle in to see where I can sharpen the details. Make things real. I wish sometimes I had a transcript of my Google searches. Bus routes in Boston. Dendrology in Oregon (and Maine and Oklahoma). Transportation infrastructure in Brazil. Whatever groups are out there shadily collecting my computer’s data have got to be at least a little confused.
RR: What are you working on now?
TB: On my laptop right now are sixteen folders of stories with multiple drafts. There are dozens more floating around Dropbox and in my head. There’s a first grade teacher. A girl running away from a car accident. A boy hunting a cat. Whatever catches first I’ll go with next. Until something else catches more demandingly. I never know what’s going to stick.
Taylor Bostick’s work in Issue 1.4:
Taylor Bostick is from Alexandria, Virginia. He recently graduated from Virginia Tech with a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a minor in creative writing. He taught environmental science in West Virginia and now lives in New York City where he does Hurricane Sandy recovery work, writes and runs. This is his first published fiction.