We're honored to feature new fiction by Mike Itaya in Issue Three of Orson's Review. Issue Three of Orson's Review will be published on September 24th, 2019.
We're also very fortunate for the time Mike took to chat with us about the writer’s journey. Check out the discussion below.
*The following interview involves Orson's Publishing (OP) and Mike Itaya (MI).
OP: How did your journey with the written word begin?
MI: My family. They’ve been putting books in front of me for a long time. When my sister left for college, she still sent me stuff in the mail. Me Talk Pretty One Day was a wonderful gift. Rock Springs was another one.
OP: Is fiction writing your primary occupation?
MI: No. I work as a staff member in a library, shipping books through Interlibrary Loan and staffing the help desk in the Library Learning Commons.
OP: What about this story are you most proud?
MI: Orson’s Review accepted it. Thank you, guys!
OP: Tell us about your writing process. Do you approach all pieces of writing in the same way?
MI: University workshops have been super generative for me, especially assignments and prompts―you get the sense someone, anybody, is anticipating your writing.
OP: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that impacted your writing?
MI: Paleontologist. All that scientific knowledge has since escaped my brain. I register there is a Triceratops in “Jurassic Park.” I have a sexy dinosaur flash-fiction I’m revising.
OP: Tell us about the biggest sacrifice you’ve made while pursuing writing.
MI: Not sure about this one. I think I’d still binge-watch Surf Ninjas, even if I didn’t write ridiculous stuff. I know that the classes, readings, and writing groups pull me out of my domestic life―it’s time away from my amazing wife.
OP: How many books do you read in a year?
MI: Not enough. I’ve been going through Ross Macdonald on repeat. I’m very excited about Kimberly King Parsons’ collection after reading her story “Foxes.”
OP: Do you attend readings? If so, tell us about the best one you’ve ever attended—what made it so good
MI: Yes. I saw David Sedaris at Boston Symphony Hall. His timing, for one thing. I think he breathes hilarity, and knows exactly when to shift into pathos.
OP: What do you want most out of your literary community?
MI: Kindness―the idea that we’re reading each other’s work, improving as readers and writers.
OP: Do you believe that an MFA is crucial to success as a writer today?
MI: I can’t speak to this. I want to eventually pursue an MFA. I will say that enrolling in fiction workshops has been IMMENSE (community, editing, submitting) for me. Without my mentors, critique group, or classmates, I wouldn’t be writing. Big thanks to Linda Busby Parker.
OP: What do you cross your fingers for as a writer?
MI: That someone finds some small line funny or amusing, or that someone reads me at all.
OP: Where do you see your journey with the written word going?
MI: Better jokes. Much better jokes.
Mike Itaya lives in southern Alabama, where he works in a library. His work appears or is forthcoming in Oracle Fine Arts Review, The Airgonaut, Bending Genres, decomP Magazine, Queen Mob's Teahouse, Heavy Feather Review, The Lindenwood Review, Belletrist Magazine, and Déraciné Magazine.
Be sure to check out Mike Itaya’s fiction in Issue Three of Orson’s Review, which will be published on September 24th, 2019.