Jessica McGlyn is a member of the Capitol Hill Writers’ Group and writes short stories in different genres. She works as a sustainability and environmental consultant and leadership coach. She’s also into lots of outdoor sports.
Jessica's work appeared in Pond 71
Why do you write?
I write for the same reason I read, to uncover truth, beauty, wisdom, to laugh, to make sense of this crazy world, and to connect with other humans. It’s kind of a spiritual practice for me. Also, I have a compulsive need to get people laughing, and since stand-up comedy is terrifying, writing is my only option.
What other creative activities are you involved in?
I surf, mountain bike, climb – all surprisingly creative sports. In surfing, for example, you find your line, commit, and play with the wave you’re on in different and beautiful ways, to the best of your ability. I love watching the younger surfers when I’m out there, with their aerials, snaps and cutbacks, it’s just gorgeous. I’m also a shameless singer, always belting out some tune stuck in my head from the gym or grocery store, making up the words most of the time of course.
Who is your favorite author and why?
Kurt Vonnegut, because he’s got all the best qualities - hilarious, sweet, blunt, down to earth, irreverent, loving, and insightful. And he packs quite a punch in just a few words. I realize he’s dead and I’m referring to him in the present tense, but he’s still very much alive to me.
Tell us about the mechanics of how you write.
I usually start with an absurdist thought experiment like, what would happen to a group of friends if EVERY one of them had a different and extreme personality disorder? Or what if a women magically turned all her boyfriends into exotic plants so they would never leave her but lacked a green thumb? Then I let the characters show up and tell me the story. I’m often surprised by who comes to visit and how the story ends – it’s rarely ever where I expected it to go.
Finally, what do you think about Carp, the fish, not our website?
They’re the playdough of the animal kingdom, coming in lots of crazy shapes, colors, and sizes. They belong to the world, hailing from everywhere, considered invasives in some parts, classy ornamentals in others, and always delicious. They just might be the star player in your sashimi platter. If they were human, they’d be that sweet young family next door you’re shocked to discover are Israeli spies. They’re the Ben Franklin of fish and we’re lucky to have them on our team.