Watch the May 2016 Winning Short Story Reading.
TEARS FOR MY BABY SISTER by Jody T. Morse
Performed by actor Becky Shrimpton
Get to know writer Jody T. Morse:
1. What is your 1pg Short Story about?
When in our twenties, my sister and I led very different lives. For instance, while I resided in Germany and toured Europe with a dance company, she happened to be a resident of the Kentucky State Penitentiary – for running a crystal meth lab. This story is of the first time I visited her in prison – how I felt and who we both were in that moment. This piece is about the triumph of sisterly love.
2. What genres would you say this short story is in?
Creative non-fiction or lyrical essay or flash non-fiction (does that even exist?). I guess it’s somewhat genre fluid.
3. How would you describe this story in two words?
4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?
Eat, Pray, Love – it’s my “go to” movie. When I’m sad, EPL. When I’m experiencing a life-time triumph, EPL. When I’m procrastinating on a writing deadline, EPL. Yep, it’s my go to.
5. How long have you been working on this story?
Since that day at the penitentiary, more or less. Almost fifteen years ago. My heart has held the emotions captured in this retelling since then but the first time words hit paper was about six months ago. After chatting with my sister on the phone about the experience, the words were purged onto paper.
6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?
My all-time favorite story is Angel Unaware by Dale Evans Rogers. However, seeing as its length doesn’t qualify as a novel, I’d have to say By The River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept by Paulo Coelho. Such an amazing piece of literature.
7. What motivated you to write this story?
Catharsis. And as a way to kick off the writing of a novel-length memoir with my sister. Hopefully, completed and ready for publishing later this year.
8. What artist would you love to have dinner with?
My initial gut reaction – Morgan Freeman. However, if you are asking specifically about visual artists (not performance artists) then I would say Annie Leibovitz. Photography is my favorite genre of the visual arts. Actually, Annie and Morgan together would be optimal and to die for.
9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Farmsteading in the forest! Yep, you read correctly. Last year, my husband and I purchased 18 acres in the heart of the Sam Houston National Forest, just North of Houston, TX. Having grown up in Kentucky, rural life wasn’t foreign to me; however, this has been a big change from world-traveling and living in the suburbs. We rescue horses, are coming closer and closer to self-sustainability/reducing our carbon footprint every day and have become the care-takers of almost 14 acres of raw forest, a no-hunting sanctuary for the wild flora and fauna.
10. What influenced you to enter the 1pg. Short Story contest?
After reading Tears For Baby Sister for an open mic event sponsored by Writespace, a local writers community that I’m heavily involved in, I desired to see Tears come to life…from the outside. I live inside the story and hear the words from inside. Seeing someone else inhabit that world, that moment, living the experience will be very powerful for me.
11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Find your writing family. Find the people who not only support your passion for writing unconditionally but also critique your work with loving honesty. We all need a guru posse – especially writers!