An English literature graduate of James Madison University, Chris currently works full-time as a senior copywriter and part-time as a freelance copy editor and marketing writer. The recipient of the 2020 “Emerging Writer’s Award,” his short story “Finn Almost Buys a Goldfish” received great acclaim at Spank the Carp, and his short story “The Swim” was recognized as the Best in Fiction for 2019 at Across the Margin. His work has also been featured in Misery Tourism Magazine, Cajun Mutt Press, and elsewhere. An advocate for health and fitness, Chris also enjoys golfing, skiing, competing in strongman, and of course, writing. Follow Chris on Instagram @coopd88
Chris's work appeared in Pond 60
Why do you write?
Writing, for me, is one of the most enjoyable existential distractions: the slight rush of crafting a perfect sentence, building clauses, lacing with precise adjectives and verbs to curate compelling descriptions, formulating like a mad scientist because it takes a certain kind of madness to obsess over perfection. I also enjoy the deeper substratum of the craft, capturing concepts with cutting words, exploring the abstract to capture its simplicity, and there’s a certain kind of calmness that overcomes me when I finish creating something worth reading.
What other creative activities are you involved in?
As much as I relish an interpretative dance session where it’s just me against the music, the only other real creative activities I engage in are responding to spam texts with dark satirical humor; real twisted stuff to possibly provoke a response, and although I rarely receive a reply, I like to test myself to see exactly how far I can go while still maintaining a semblance of normalcy. My only other creative hobby includes conjuring up alliterative hashtags to pair with my story uploads on Instagram.
Who is your favorite author and why?
I have a couple of favorite authors, which I cycle based on my perspective. When it comes to philosophical reads and deriving inspiration, Albert Camus is my choice, based on his absurdist ideologies and his ability to convey advanced concepts into comprehensive writing. For fictional literature and entertainment, I prefer Don DeLillo and Richard Ford, because I enjoy smart reads with prose that compels you to really think yet doesn’t cudgel you with bombastic word choices.
Tell us about the mechanics of how you write.
First, I like to let my ideas gestate, like a fetus, facilitating development and carrying them along until they’re ready. And eventually, I experience this internal itch, an irritation, where I feel compelled to expel, spilling words into a Word document, like uncontrollable vomit. And then I feel okay, coming back to clean up the mess for the next few days; revising and adding, sculpting, and tidying until I’ve produced something beautiful in its own way, something that makes an impression long after it’s been read.
Finally, what do you think about Carp, the fish, not our website?
Wasn’t entirely sure what ‘Carp’ is, so I googled it, pulling up the first image of the search, which was a goofy photo of a big portly brassy fish against a grassy background; the greenery was vivid and lush, reminding me of what it felt like to be a kid, playing outside in the summer, eliciting a comforting warmth from within; the fish looked dead but at peace, reminding me of how impermanent life is. And it wasn’t a somber feeling that overcame me, no, just a mild memorandum that we’re all going to end up like carp one day, and that’s okay because the grass is cushiony and delightful.