My first experiences with storytelling were around the campfire in my childhood. My family spent many nights around campfires sharing stories, retelling old tales, or making up new ones to keep the night at bay. When I was very young, I shined shoes in my grandfather’s barbershop for a time. I admit to being terrible with a rag and brush but I listen to every story that was passed back and forth between the old men that haunted the place as they waited for their trim or shave. I found my way into theater as a young man and eventually into independent film in college. The entire time, whether I was sitting by the fire or behind a camera, I was always writing, always composing my own stories or at least witnessing them as they composed themselves.
Most of my work is inspired by a simple moment that ignites my senses. Ration started in the hallway of a hotel, a single small sound caused a ripple in my mind that blossomed into a scene in the book. Most of my work begins with this kind of small spark and then blooms across the bones of a story that grows from the world around me. I have been an educator for nearly two decades, food insecurity and violence are constant issues many of my students face. I wanted this story to reflect struggles that I witness in the real world.
Ration is about love, which seems to be incongruous with horror and dystopia, but the truth is each of these characters is worthy of some form of love, no matter how ugly their own idea of love is. With Ration I wanted to write a kind of book that could explore the imperfections of how we see love and experience it, especially in the darkest moments of our lives.
Writing horror offers a great deal of freedom, and while I am not bound by genre in my writing, I recognize that horror gives me the opportunity to write about dark and beautiful things. I want my writing to stretch across all genres, but I also want to write something that reflects the terrible little personal horrors that we must all face and at the same time, demonstrate how those horrors simply make us human.
I think I would sit down with Ms. Tuttle and ask her why she didn’t break away from her mother like she so wanted to. I would ask her why she struggles to remember her love until she is quite sure that she can no longer feel love.
Twitter is an interesting mechanism for developing a readership. I have no gift in social media, in fact, I admit to enjoy hiding in my office and quietly writing in the hopes that the world might simply stumble across my work, but unfortunately that’s not the way things are. Twitter has been a remarkable platform to put me in touch with hundreds of other writers. This has been a tremendous boon that does my heart good to find such a supportive community. So, no matter how clumsy I am at it, it remains one of my most useful tools.
The thing I can offer is something that I’m sure most writers have heard before, but it remains profoundly true: you must write the thing that you love, no matter how risky or terrifying that might be. If you love what you write, and you feel what your characters are feeling when you write it, the reader will feel these things also. Writing is about passion, one that you can share with your readers, but one that you must cultivate by yourself. And never forget that there will be people who love your work just as much as you, so even though you must write by yourself, you must never read alone.
I am currently working on a new novel. It’s also a scary story about how each of us sees the world in very different ways. This story will also be about love, centering on a family, a town in the Pacific Northwest, and a terrible loss.
Cody’s stories have appeared in Pilgrimage, Cirque, KYSO Flash, Menda City Review, Swamp Biscuits & Tea, and others. He is fiction winner of the 2016 Montana Book Festival Regional Emerging Writers Contest.
Cody teaches at Portland Community College and works as a story editor. He completed an intensive MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Cody grew up listening to stories in his grandfather’s barber shop as he shined shoes, stories told to him at bedsides and on front porches, deep in his father’s favorite woods, and in the cabs of pickup trucks on lonely dirt roads. Cody’s work explores those things both small and wondrous that move the soul, whether they be deeply real or strikingly surreal.
Anthony Avina, (Born March 1990), is an author, a journalist, and a blogger. Born in Southern California, he has battled through injuries, disabilities, moves back and forth across the country, and more, yet still maintains a creative voice that he hopes to use not only to entertain but to inspire hope in even the darkest situations. He writes short stories and novels in several genres, and is also a seasoned journalist for the online magazine, On Request Magazine, as well as the popular site TheGamer. Having grown up reading the books of Dean Koontz and Stephen King, they inspired him to write new and exciting stories that delved into the minds of richly developed characters. He constantly tries to write stories that have never been told before, and to paint a picture in your mind while you are reading the book, as if you could see every scene of the book as if it were a movie you were watching. His stories will get your imaginations working, and will also show that in spite of the most despairing and horrific situations, hope is never out of reach. He am always writing, and so there will never be a shortage of new stories for your reading pleasure. http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com