Words from a Writer: Sean Sanford

Sean Sanford is a Defiant Scribe veteran, having been with us since our first-ever edition. We’re glad he chose to stick around, but in truth, we wouldn’t have let him go if he tried—he’s far too good to lose. Sean’s stories are characterized, in part, by a poetic style of writing. He plays with language in surprising, lyrical ways, making even the darkest subject matter pop with color. There’s plenty of beauty in Sean’s writing, but just as much character as prettiness. His authorial voice is clear and well-defined, uniting each of his stories no matter how disparate their genres and narratives. They all feature quick-witted narration, gorgeously-rendered imagery, and memorable characters. Sean is a writer who is unafraid to push the envelope and always seems to have fun doing so. And when we read his stories, we always have fun, too. 

Sean was gracious enough to answer some of our questions about writing, reading, Defiant Scribe, et al. Here’s what he had to say. 

Defiant Scribe: When did you start writing and why? And what was the first creative piece you wrote? 

Sean Sanford: My first memory of being enamored with writing was in second grade. I had a teacher named Mrs. Walker. She told me she always enjoyed the goofy assignments I’d write for class and told me so. She told me that I showed a love for writing, and if I love to do it, I should do it with a passion. I have ever since.

DS: Favorite book and/or author? 

SS: So many, but the books that have really spoken to me are stories that toy with the medium’s concept. Like Nabokov’s Pale Fire, or Milan Kundera’s Immortality. I think the first book I read that made me realize you could write with conceptual abandon was Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions.

DS: What’s one book or author that you think is overrated and/or lousy? 

SS: Harry Potter.

DS: Fuck, marry, kill: Typewriter, computer, notepad. 

SS: I’ll fuck a typewriter, cheating on my computer, but only to kill my notepad as a way to reanimate her corpse.

DS: Do you have a favorite storytelling medium (e.g., novel, short story, film, TV show, et cetera)? If you do, what is it and why is it your favorite? 

SS: Writing short stories is my drug of choice. Novels and film are my favorite to enjoy as a reader/viewer, as both make the waters relatively deep to submerge and explore. Although a short story can do the same when done a certain way, I’m just still trying to learn how.

DS: If someone asked you to name one person or thing that has influenced/inspired you the most, what—or who—would that be? 

SS: The weather and past mistakes. 

DS: Is there anything (genre, topic, storyline, etc) you won’t write or won’t write about? 

SS: No.

DS: If you could jump into any book and live within its world for a while, which book would you pick and why? 

SS: Probably Lonesome Dove, because I’m an undercover cowboy at heart.

DS: Of the stories you’ve written for Defiant Scribe, which are you proudest of and why?  

SS: While Lee Slept, as it was particularly close to my heart.

DS: If you were going to recommend someone read your Defiant Scribe stories, which would you tell them to read first?

SS: Probably The Universal Winnebago. 

DS: What sucks the most about being a writer? 

SS: Writing. Ha! Sometimes channels of my memory, emotions, or accidental opinions can be turned on that were better left alone.

DS: What’s the hardest writing challenge you’ve faced?

SS: When I was twenty, I had a fucked up year. I found it really hard to resurrect any inspiration or energy to write after being re-shackled to my hometown; particularly when I’d been stamped to recovery after my (first) traumatic head injury.

DS: What’s one piece of writing advice that you’d give to your younger self?  

SS: Worry more about writing what you love, and less what you think others will love.

DS: What is your favorite Defiant Scribe edition and/or Defiant Scribe story (written by somebody else)?

SS: I always love the Halloween issues, with their different takes on horror stories. I also really loved the February 2018 issue, Unexpected & Unconventional Love Stories, and particularly Zofia’s story A Valentine for Valentin. 

DS: Where else can people find you and/or your work? 

SS: I write fiction for Lowcard skateboarding magazine, for which I have an upcoming collection of shorts called A Manbaby’s Requiem (which will also include selections from Defiant Scribe). I have a spoken-word podcast called Another Red Herring (which iTunes has taken down but the website remains). I have non-fictional stories I’ve written for an online music mag that my wife and I started called Rockward Silence. I also have an upcoming novel.