This week we talk to Deborah Van Heerkeren about ‘Time of Death’ which appears in Time, the latest Microlit anthology edited by Cassandra Atherton and published in 2018 by Spineless Wonders. In this interview, Deborah  talks about her approach to writing microlit, what she is reading right now and her favourite time of year for putting pen to paper.

  1. Tell us about the inspiration behind your microlit for the Time

Time of Death is based on my sensations of a journey with my partner to make the funeral arrangements for his mother. It evokes the landscape, the season and the mood of the experience, and pays homage to an English heritage.

  1. When it comes to microlit, do you generally start wide and then cut down or do you always plan to write a particular piece as microlit?

I am rather new to microlit so my efforts are generally reworkings of wider rambling.

  1. How do you balance reading time with writing time? And tell us about the book/s you are reading at the moment.

I tend to binge read three of four books and then have a break to focus on creative work. I am a visual artist. The writing happens irregularly–when I am inspired by the unexpected–or more regularly if I am working for publication. I am a great admirer of Patrick White and have recently completed a second reading of The Tree of Man. It is both a monumental existential novel and a great poetic work. I am excited about Derek Sayer’s new surrealist history of Prague: Capital of the Twentieth Century. And next in line is a reread of Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees. I think there is an arboreal theme emerging for me.

  1. What is your favourite season? Do you prefer to write in winter or summer and why?

I love Autumn for its softness. Keats had it nailed. It’s not really a preference, but I do more writing in Winter because I am indoors and don’t have the distraction of the garden.

DEBORAH VAN HEEKEREN was born in Sydney and moved to Maitland from the Central Coast in 2013. Recently retired from her academic career in anthropology, she is concentrating on her creative art practice.