Kyle Impini’s story “Lester Tchotchke Hawker” appears in Midwestern Gothic‘s Summer 2017 issue, out now.
What’s your connection to the Midwest, and how has the region influenced your writing?
I’ve lived in Indiana since age four, and I still haven’t spent much more than two weeks outside of it. I’m sure a lot of different facets of the Midwest have influenced me, but I think a big one is that the Midwest seems to have this healthy cynicism regarding anything too modern, and I think that’s influenced the kind of stuff I like writing about and the way I write it.
What do you think is the most compelling aspect of the Midwest?
The sheer variety of the place. It gets really cold in the winter and really hot in the summers. There are big cities and small towns.
How do your experiences or memories of specific places—such as where you grew up, or a place you’ve visited that you can’t get out of your head—play a role in your writing?
I spent a lot of time in Bloomington visiting my Grandmother when I was really young, and we’d follow a creek in her backyard all the way to Cascades Park. She was an old woman at the time but she had no trouble keeping up with me and my brother. I have all sorts of memories of that creek—finding geodes, reading foul graffiti surely written by college students, and seeing a deer carcass in the middle of the stream. It’s one of those things that I’ve always wanted to write about, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t do it justice.
Discuss your writing process—inspirations, ideal environments, how you deal with writer’s block.
I only write in my bedroom. I usually just brew a big pot of coffee and turn off the internet. The only way I can deal with writer’s block is to write a lot of trash and try to find a salvageable sentence or two. Reading out of my comfort zone can also help.
How can you tell when a piece of writing is finished?
At a certain point I just call a piece done and move on to the next one. I usually spend around six weeks working on a piece, and after a while I just start feeling the need to move on. That being said, I’ll often come back to stories after a month or so and make really minute changes.
Who is your favorite author (fiction writer or poet), and what draws you to their work?
I’m a really big fan of Tobias Wolff. His stuff is so readable that it’s tempting to blow through it, but he draws up such interesting situations that you’re forced to put the book down and think through the implications of a bit of dialogue or an action. There’s this weird thing he does where the emotional content of the story/book is insanely complex, but he manages to get his point across with really simple and direct prose. It’s almost like a magic trick. He can be hilarious without being insincere, intelligent without being pretentious, emotional without being sappy, and though his stories feel hyper-realistic they’re really super bizarre. I honestly can’t say enough good stuff about his stories.
What’s next for you?
I just graduated from Indiana University so I’m just gonna be working and writing for the foreseeable future.
Where can we find more information about you?
If you want to get in touch with me, just send me a message on Facebook.