Joshua Espitia is an award-winning author of short fiction, playwright, journalist, and former managing editor of The Windward Review. You can find his political commentary, satire, and God-awful attempts at comedy in The Vent Daily on a semi-regular basis. His poetry can be found on the digital journals South Broadway Ghost Society and Spank the Carp, and in the upcoming issues of Voices Arts and Literature Journal and The Windward Review. Joshua resides in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he works as an educator with the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joshua's piece appeared in Pond 47
Why do you write?
I’m an egomaniac and I think everyone should be enthralled with my ideas, so I write them down and put them out there for people to read. Isn’t that why everyone who writes does it?
What other creative activities are you involved in?
I could give a hundred answers here, from cooking to drawing to pretending to know how to play music, but I think I’ll go with my favorite: lying. I love to lie. When I’m out with friends, or even by myself, I’ll concoct stories on the spot for waitstaff, cashiers, police officers if I need out of a ticket – you name it. The more absurd the better. Sometimes I’ll do it for my friends. I say for them and not to them because it’s strictly to entertain (one notable exception being the police) and not for nefarious purposes. It’s really just a writing exercise in disguise, but there’s a certain satisfaction I can’t get from a simply responding to a prompt when I get a room full people to believe I decided to pursue poetry after I became dissatisfied with my life as a penguin nutrition specialist at Sea World one day, tossed down my bucket of feed, and produced a manuscript as I waited for the 319 bus to get through traffic on loop 410. Part of that story is true, by the way.
Who is your favorite author and why?
This isn’t a fair question. Somebody’s feelings are going to end up getting hurt because I didn’t choose them. Instead, I’ll give you a small list. I love Faulkner and Hemingway, and not just because they couldn’t stand each other. There’s a time for verbosity and a time for simplicity and I think they each did it, respectively, perfectly. Neither’s stories suffered for not being what the other’s were. Charles Bukowski occupies a considerable amount of space on my bookshelves. There’s something about unabashed and shameless honesty. Finally, Stephen King wrote my all-time favorite series of books, The Dark Tower. Please don’t judge it by the God-awful movie adaptation – it has forgotten the face of its father. (My apologies to Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Emily Dickinson, Kurt Vonnegut, and Toni Morrison. I have limited space.
Tell us about the mechanics of how you write.
It really depends on the project. I carry legal pads and a Moleskin notebook everywhere I go. Lots of poetry gets its start there. When I’m writing for The Vent, it’s straight to the computer. I rarely outline anywhere outside of my own head, but I will scrawl down ideas and try to make associations. Right now, on my phone, I have a list of names I like for characters in stories and novels that either come naturally in conversation or maybe I see on two street signs and I think they look good together. One thing I do that’s constant, though, is editing as I write. I’ll spend 2 hours on one sentence, line, or enjambment sometimes. I occasionally go back and change it when I see the work as a whole, but I try not to admit to doing that too much.
Finally, what do you think about Carp, the fish, not our website?
I had never given much thought to the carp before I submitted to this journal. Now I find I’m fascinated by them. It’s got nothing to do with how they look so peaceful and innocent in the little ponds at Japanese restaurants, being coy with their intentions to overwhelm the waterways of the world. I don’t particularly care that they’re an invasive species – they’re so well-established here that it’s almost hard to call them that anymore. No, what I find myself wondering about is their wants, needs, and most intimate of desires in their – ahem – spawning practices. Who, exactly, should spank the carp? Is it me? I must admit I was somewhat disappointed that I wasn’t given a fish to punish, which likely says more about me than the fish itself, but whatever. Does the male spank the female or vice versa? Is it a pre- or post-milt activity? Do certain fish need a spanking to complete the deed? Is there a fetish developing because of the pharmaceuticals we’re flushing into their waters? Which fins are the best for laying down a solid smack, and how do the fish deal with water resistance in calculating force and angle? I can’t get these questions out of my head, and research has yielded no answers. What do I think about carp? I don’t know what to think.