As part of the launch of our Spring/Summer 2018 issue, Let Us Gather: Diversity and the Arts, we sat down with contributors to talk about their work in the issue and more. The following interview is part of this series. Please visit our website to see the complete list of contributors to Let Us Gather, to purchase the issue, or to subscribe.
Tell us a little about your work in Let Us Gather: Diversity and the Arts. What inspired it, how you came to write it, etc.
A friend of mine, also Japanese-American and many generations removed from the home country, joked that she isn’t qualified to write a Japanese story because she doesn’t cook all the requisite food. The joke became a challenge; cultural impulses can run deep, but they’re not always obvious to the eye. The meta angle was a fun way to get inside the story—what if someone carelessly told a writer she needed to “get in touch” with her ethnicity, without having a nuanced idea of what that might mean?
Do you have a favorite line, image, or scene from this work?
I like the lizard at the end. Spoiler alert!
What is your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
I would say to fellow aspirers I have a tendency sometimes to write toward ideas rather than concrete people, real desires. I remind myself to find the heart of the narrative first. Make it beat before you make it bleed.
Tell us something fun, strange, or interesting about yourself. It can have to do with writing—or not!
We used to go to this sheepherding place in Palmdale, north of L.A. It was wild watching our Aussies take to the job; the classes were more for humans than their dogs. My favorite command is “that’ll do,” made famous by James Cromwell in the movie Babe. In herding language it simply means “the work is done.”
What’s on the writing horizon for you/what are you working on now?
I’m working on a longer thing.
Lisa Horiuchi is a former business strategist and marketer with twenty years’ experience in a variety of industries including toys, beauty, software, and electric-vehicle technologies. A graduate of UCLA, the UC Irvine Programs in Writing, and the USC Marshall School of Business, her fiction can be found in Conjunctions #68 and Ploughshares Solos Omnibus Volume Five. She lives in Los Angeles with her family and is currently at work on a novel. You can visit her online at https://lisahoriuchi.com.