Personally, I think, it is only after you gain the ability to write from the perspective of a different person that you can really write a full-bodied literary work that does not sound like a cacophonic autobiographical soliloquy on perpetual repeat. Fouad Oveisy
Leodegraunce: Fouad, you have an interesting name. What can you tell us about your background?
Fouad Oveisy: Let’s start with a formal introduction, haha. Hello, my name is Fouad Oveisy, Canadian, with a Kurdish background. I came to Canada when I was in high school, and since then life has been a relentless pursuit of adjustment and perfecting English as a third language. I got a degree in Mechanical engineering from Waterloo, because that is what first generation immigrant kids initially do, but now I’m working full time as an engineer and simultaneously (but part time) chase after a masters degree in English literature at Ryerson. I started writing short fiction in Farsi when I was in high school and began typing my first novel in English (under the desk, at work) about three years ago during a co-op internship. I’m looking forward to a full-time career in writing literature and cannot wait!
Leodegraunce: What about flash fiction? What drew you to it?
Fouad Oveisy: Flash fiction was there from day one, really. Sometimes an idea is an infant, it whines in your head, and if you try to teach it sophisticated language, well, it ends up peeing you off. These infants come and go. Most of them are simultaneously born and aborted, for example, just before you fall asleep. Some of them you grow into short stories, and very few interbreed and survive as novels. The rest, however, become flash fiction. Flash fiction, to me, is like the Japanese haiku or a supernova: It is immense, primordially composed, powerful and glaring, yet brief, and if good, eternal. Also, flash fiction is the best way to preserve the intrinsic core of an idea, so if one day you decide to develop it into a short story or even a novel, you know exactly how you felt and thought about it at its moment of conception.
Leodegraunce: Tell us about your upcoming selection of short stories.
Fouad Oveisy: Well, first things first, it is in Farsi. If I translate the title correctly, it’ll turn out something like ‘The High Council-General of the Colonies of Tamara’. The title is taken from my favorite story of the collection, a postmodern story about a stripper called Tamara and the platonic relationship of the narrator with her polymorphous nature. The ten piece collection covers a wide range of topics and literary styles that I experimented with during my novice writing career, selected from a stack of over fifty short stories. I am working on translating some of the better works into English, although getting some of the literal and metaphorical equals 'just right' is proving to be a difficult challenge.
Leodegraunce: What are some of your writing plans for 2011?
Fouad Oveisy: In addition to the usual writing and scrapping? I’d say finish, edit and submit more works, or basically get out there more. That is my resolution. After a latency period during which (I think) every writer is afraid of submissions and rejections and racks up piles of stories and poems that never see the light, there comes a time when you have to face it and find out what you’re really made of. I am also going to edit and polish my finished English novel Pscyclone: The Paradox of the Monkey, Bullet, Hunter and the Tree. It has been a longtime in writing, and I am determined to find it a publisher sooner than later. I’m thinking maybe work on a couple of movies scripts here and there? In my opinion, it’s always good to go multi-genre.
Leodegraunce: What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?
Fouad Oveisy: As cliche as it may sound: Get out of your comfort zone. I only gained the confidence to call myself a writer a few months ago when, for the first time, I wrote a story from the perspective of a character that did not resemble me or did not remind me of myself, and at the same time, felt real, authentic and interesting. Personally, I think, it is only after you gain the ability to write from the perspective of a different person that you can really write a full-bodied literary work that does not sound like a cacophonic autobiographical soliloquy on perpetual repeat. So I’d say, get out of your comfort zone, get to know your opposite(s), dive deep in their worlds, indulge, survive, resurface, mend and then write.