Today’s Featured Writefest Speaker is Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, a curator with the Art and Words Show in Fort Worth. Her fiction and poetry has appeared in over 50 publications such as Lightspeed, Fairy Tale Review, and Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror as well as in six languages. She was the featured author at LeVar Burton's Dallas LeVar Reads event. She has been a finalist for the Nebula Award, placed second for Selected Shorts’ Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize, and won the Grand Prize in the SyFy Channel's Battle the Beast contest; SyFy made and released an animated short of her short story "Party Tricks." The Art & Words Show has been featured in Poets & Writers.
Does your writing process for short stories differ from writing poetry, or is it similar?
It's totally different. I am a very casual poet, so I usually only write poetry when the mood strikes. Whereas with fiction, where I've chosen to concentrate the bulk of my attention, I try to write every day and plan projects in advance. I also heavily revise fiction, where I don't do so with poetry. With poems, I'm writing more for myself than with the idea that I will share them. I only share the stuff that comes out near-finished. With fiction, the idea is always that I'm writing a first draft and will return to it again and again before sending it out into the world.
How did the idea for the Art and Words Show come about?
I needed a project for an assignment in my MFA, and I wanted to do something collaborative, that involved artists of another medium. My mom owns an art gallery in Fort Worth, so I thought that would be perfect. I'd seen similar shows done with just poetry, and I wanted to expand it to flash fiction and nonfiction, and I also wanted to include speculative fiction. In fact, I ended up focusing on speculative fiction.
Can you talk about a memorable collaboration from a past Art and Words Show?
There have been so many! Stacy Tompkins' responses spring to mind. I'll talk specifically about Stacy's response to Houston writer Layla Al-Bedawi's "To Escape the Witch's House," which appears online here in Liminal Stories. Stacy created a sculpture with handmade dolls and strangely textured bodily fluids. It was the most tactile art I've seen in the show yet, and it was so creepy and cool to see how deeply she'd combed Layla's story.
Want to hear more from Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam at Writefest? Her schedule will be posted on our website soon!
Be sure to secure your tickets to Writefest if you haven’t already!