burn ban, decapitation, frog, good read, must read, noir, Oklahoma, The Writing Process, totem animal, western
If you haven’t heard of my new project, the On Fire anthology over at Transmundane Press, this mini-interview and excerpt series will showcase the amazing authors I get to work with and their writing. Meet Victor Hawk.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
The frog has been my totem animal since I discovered him in college. Somehow, I began a series of narrative confessional poems collectively called Frogless Lines. Somehow, they won an award, and here I am on this odd little journey.
What are the genre(s) of the stories you write and why?
I seem to keep circling back to an odd noir/western thing. I can’t say why, but it’s fun.
What interesting thing did you learn while writing your last story?
That the singular thing which pulled me through the story’s finish didn’t matter at all to anyone else. In fact, my readers found it a distraction.
From “Clover” by Victor Hawk
“Will you help me?” she said.
I snapped my cigarette onto the ground. Turned on one heel.
My yard was empty. Just dry brown Bermuda grass, rusted chain-link fence. An acre of empty. I can’t say I was surprised. My yard is fenced. Gated. Secure. After Angie, I had made changes.
Some to the yard.
It had to be the wind in the eastern red cedar. My neighbor’s tree. My neighbor’s wind. A limb across the chain-link twist. The wind should be here. The tree shouldn’t. Look at any aerial view of Oklahoma City, and the trees you’ll see are people’s. They’re the trees of fencelines, drainage ditches. The normal flow of lightning fire and prairie grass has been disabled, disrupted.
Bermuda grass thrives in the fire department zones.
The cigarette butt smoldered on the dry grass. I practiced a bug crush with the toe of my boot. Stamp and twist. Pivot on the z axis. You can’t be too safe in September, the week before the state fair. Everywhere dry as dust and straw. Every day on the overpass, you can see white smoke somewhere on the horizon. The news channel said the whole state was burning up one yard at a time.
Angie liked to catch me smoking, liked to blame me for breaking things.
So, I made sure the smoldering butt was out and good, and in the process, I just about kicked her with my heel. She was that close to where the cigarette landed.
I can’t say I was too surprised to find the head of a woman sticking up out of the ground. I mean, really. Angie and I lived for twenty years on Star Trek reruns. What else are we going to do in Oklahoma? If it weren’t for fantasy, we’d have had no marriage. It wasn’t much of one even so, I suppose, but like my friend Jack says, any marriage that lasts twenty years is worth a house, a whole house, and nothing but the house, so help me God.
“Clover” is Hawk’s first short story publication. He left engineering in 2005 to pursue his teaching and creative writing interests. His poems have appeared in small literary presses over the years, including The Davidson Miscellany, Wind: A Literary Magazine, Cold Mountain Review, Word River, and New Plains Review.
ON FIRE is available now: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and the Transmundane Press store.