This week we talk to Johanna Ellersdorfer about ‘Texting Through Time Zones’ which appears in Time, the latest Microlit anthology edited by Cassandra Atherton and published in 2018 by Spineless Wonders. In this interview, Johanna talks about her approach to writing microlit, what she is reading right now and her favourite time of year for putting pen to paper
- Tell us about the inspiration behind your microlit for the Time anthology.
I’ve lived overseas on and off for the past six years or so, and as a result I find myself often calculating time differences. When I wrote this piece I was living in The Hague and the 8-10 hour time difference between there and the east coast of Australia meant that the best time to contact home was right as I was going to sleep and my friends and family were waking up. Texting at this time with one person in particular became a bit of a ritual and I came to like the dynamic of our harried conversations as my day was ending as hers was starting, and that inspired the story.
- 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 generally plan to write microlit since I am both time-poor and a bit of a perfectionist. Aiming for a completed piece of microlit feels achievable because I can play around with ideas and words in a very contained way.
- How do you balance reading time with writing time? And tell us about the book/s you are reading at the moment.
I read in bursts whenever and wherever I have time, whereas I try to be more consistent with writing. This year I have been trying to form a habit of writing every day. I tend to write just before I go to bed, usually something short.
I always have a few books on the go at any given time. At the moment I’m reading ‘One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses’ by Lucy Corin, which includes 100 pieces of microfiction that each deal with a different kind of apocalypse, my favourite so far being the destruction of an angel cake; ‘Confabulations’ by John Berger, which is just a beautifully articulate series of reflections on art and language illustrated with small reproductions of his sketches; and ‘Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café’ by Fannie Flagg, which I’ve just started and can feel myself racing through.
- What is your favourite season? Do you prefer to write in winter or summer and why?
Autumn is my favourite season. I like the deep blue skies and changing leaves. I don’t have a preference for writing in a particular season, but I do like writing when it is raining outside, no matter what time of year.
JOHANNA ELLERSDORFER grew up in Sydney and works as a paintings conservator. Over the past ten years she has lived in various cities in Australia, Europe and the USA, and writes small stories in her spare time.