Some Questions for Ethan Velez

The editorial team had some questions for Ethan Velez.

What inspired you to write “I Can Carry It All”?

The story came together through some stages. I was having a hard time sleeping one night until I felt this warm, calm breeze that helped me out a lot. Slept like a baby. It turns out that the breeze was hot air from a nearby church burning down. I explained the situation to my sibling, Ash, who said it was good material for a flash fiction piece. It was definitely gradual. The title comes from a Ted Lucas song.

What was your writing process like for this piece?

I spent a lot of time thinking about the piece and how I wanted it to go. I mean a lot of time. To the point where when I finally started writing the first draft, I already knew what I was doing. It was a great feeling. I wish everything I wrote went like that.

How has COVID impacted your creative work?

There was no work. I couldn’t be creative through the pandemic until I started reading and watching what I liked as a kid. I also read a lot of essays by people who were writing about whatever they wanted, which was freeing for a person whose writing felt and read like something I put together for a grade.

Now I write what I want. I’ve truthfully spent the last year feeling like l’ve been learning to write for the first time again.

Horror movies come up quite a bit in this piece, and you mention in your bio that you are a fan. What draws you to the genre? How do horror movies inform your creative work? 

Horror movies had a hand in shaping who I am today, definitely. John Carpenter’s Halloween was one of the first movies I can remember watching as a kid. I remember being terrified, but thrilled, because at the root of a story about a masked criminal stalking teenagers was an ordinary person trying to survive. I was drawn to that. I’m more interested in stories about people trying their best than I’m interested in horror, but I like ghosts and witches, so scary movies have been a good middle ground.

When I’m able to understand and relate to a character who makes it to the end of a horror movie, I better understand myself, and that reflects in my writing. I pull confidence from the Nancy Downs and Barbara Steeles of the world.

Read Ethan Velez’s flash fiction piece “I Can Carry It All.”

Image credit: “Happy Halloween,” eyecmore. Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0.