Tucker Leighty-Phillips’ stories “Clem’s Second Refrigerator” and “The Whirlpool” appeared in Issue 16 of Sundog Lit. He is a student and writer living in Tempe, Arizona.
Tell us a little about your writing process (from the first word to the last edit).
My process is increasingly frustrating, because when I sit down to write, I have no forward motion. I have no ideas. I have no patience for my own prose. But when I’m showering, cooking dinner, buying groceries, or taking a walk, I get lots of ideas. I try my best to jot them down, or repeat the lines or concepts to myself until I can get them jotted down, and then I go from there. I often mentally tinker with my writing, running words and phrases through my head like the mathematicians in movies do with numbers. Sometimes, I have the “a-ha!” moment and do my best to get it on the page. When I sit down to write, I get frustrated. When I start to do anything other than writing, that’s when the story offers itself.
What is something you’re fascinated with at the moment?
I invest a lot of time and energy into Football Manager, which is a game where you pretend to be a soccer coach. I tinker with tactics, scout players, develop prospects, everything except actually play the game of football itself. I do a lot of mental tinkering here, too, biting my bottom lip at the mailbox as I try to see if a newly-available midfielder will fit into my formation. There’s probably a connection to writing there, but I’d rather keep these two threads separate for my own sake.
Is there a place that has inspired your writing? If so, where is it and what about it made for good material?
My shower. The moment I’m wet, bare, and removed from the world, an idea clicks, so I’m left hollering at my girlfriend to text me my story concepts through the water and steam. I’m so thankful for her.
Coffee, tea, or neither?
Coffee, although I probably shouldn’t.
Physical books or e-books?
Happy to buy both.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on my thesis manuscript so I can graduate from college, finally. I’m always playing with professional wrestling micro fictions or flea market-based prose poems. I write about class and class markers a lot. I’m poor. I speak broke. I try to speak broke in my work.
Any recommendations for readers, i.e. books, movies, television, art, anything under the sun?
The books that have given me the most permission lately have been Shivani Mehta’s Useful Information For The Soon-to-be Beheaded, Ana María Shua’s Without A Net (trans. Steven J. Stewart), and Hilary Leichter’s Temporary. I want them to be the family tree of my current work.
Anything else that you’d like to plug or let our readers know about?
Nah, just do something nice for somebody if you have the energy and means to do so.