Bill Kitcher had 40 short stories published in 2021, which he thinks must be some kind of record, if not for all writers, then at least for partially ambidextrous nearsighted Canadian writers with scars on both eyebrows.
Bill's work appeared in Pond 65
Why do you write?
The main reason is to entertain readers. Another reason is to get readers to look at situations a little differently. Our world is not always as it seems, and if you can get an insight due to looking at something differently, that’s valuable in helping you understand the confusion around us.
What other creative activities are you involved in?
I played the alto sax up until the point when my cats would run away to the basement in horror whenever I would just open my sax case. I have no skills in the visual arts, and I think dancing is kind of an odd thing to do unless you’re drunk.
Who is your favorite author and why?
There are so many I admire – James Tiptree Jr., Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Raymond Chandler, John Steinbeck, Stanislaw Lem, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Harold Pinter – but I will focus on the relatively unknown Wolfgang Borchert. He wrote the amazing play “The Man Outside” (or “The Outsider”), which is a bizarre expressionistic piece, and a lot of short stories that are sparse and evocative and moving. Borchert was an anti-Nazi who was conscripted into the German army, was disciplined and imprisoned numerous times for anti-Nazi statements. His health was severely compromised by the ravages of war, and he died in 1947 at the age of 26. His stories are powerful humanist works, and I never tire of re-reading them.
Tell us about the mechanics of how you write.
I usually write stories with pen and paper, for a couple of reasons. The first is that something on a computer looks “finished” to me, and I find it hard to write/edit when something looks like it’s completed. After I finish the first draft and go over it several times, then I type it out. By this time, it’s usually finished although I continue to edit to remove anything that’s superfluous. The other reason I use pen and paper is that I have a huge stack of scrap paper that I’d like to use up before I die.
Finally, what do you think about Carp, the fish, not our website?
I grew up in a city on the shores of the Bay of Quinte, an inlet off Lake Ontario. The bay doesn’t drain anywhere so it doesn’t have a lot of active life. People swear the bay has bass and perch, but I don’t believe them. But there are a lot of carp in the bay. When we were kids, this naturally led to the joke: Q: What’s the difference between a carp and a lawyer? A: One’s a slimy scum-sucking bottom-dweller, and the other one’s a fish. Perhaps I misunderstood your question. Did you want me to talk about CARP, the Canadian Association of Retired People?