How does inspiration strike you? It’s typically a gentle nudge rather than a strike: an image that won’t dissipate, a string of words, a slightly off-kilter situation. It’s subtle, quiet. And it forces me to be quiet, too. If not, I’ll miss it.
For what purpose do you write? It took me a long time to realize that I write as a way to understand what I’m feeling. “The Box of Asian Delights” was inspired by an actual auction item I saw at a fundraiser. In the moment I found it so tone deaf and absurd; it cracked me up. But in time it became one of those images that kept nudging me, and I realized I’d have to write about it to be done with it. What I discovered, of course, is that I didn’t think it was funny at all and that the pile-on of microaggressions that POC and other marginalized folks manage in their day-to-day lives is a kind of horror story.
Is there a certain process you go through while writing? My process feels a bit different with each story, but one thing that has never changed is that I edit as I go. I know this is generally believed to be a writing no-no, but it works for me: I feel best moving forward when I know that everything behind me is in pretty good shape. And it means that when I reach the end all that’s left (usually!) is tweaking. Tweaking is my favorite part of writing.
Veronica Montes is the author of the award-winning chapbook The Conquered Sits at the Bus Stop, Waiting (Black Lawrence Press) and Benedicta Takes Wing & Other Stories (Philippine American Literary House). Her stories have been published or are forthcoming in Wigleaf, SmokeLong Quarterly, CHEAP POP, jmww, and elsewhere.