Author Profile: Barbara Ruth

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How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?

My parents were very competitive: my father was a musician, my mother was an athlete. I figured out young that I needed to have something besides sports or music as my field of expertise. I began making poems when I was two. I was the first born child of class climbing teachers. I was read to a lot. Mom and Dad encouraged and praised my creativity with words, but they eventually tired of writing down my poems and stories. They thought I could read (actually I was very good at memorizing), so at the age of four they taught me to write, and this is also when and how I learned to read.

What inspired you to write flash fiction?

I was writing very short fiction and memoirs decades before I came upon the term “flash fiction.” Probably the inspiration is some combination of short attention span and a belief in “less is more.”

Describe your writing process.

It was a major switch to create a first draft on a computer versus by hand, but now almost all my work happens that way. I revise many times over many years. “Fair Trade” went through four drafts over three years. I am still tweaking pieces I began in the late sixties. For the past five years I have written first draft prose during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), although only one of those years did I write something I would call a novel. I did write prose, and over 50,000 words. For the novel, I outlined and researched extensively. This year, for the first time, I wrote Poem a Day in April. PAD is far more difficult than NaNoWriMo. Because there are so many aspects to writing (revision, outlining, research), I maintain that the way to avoid writer’s block is to take up one of these when writing a first draft isn’t happening.

What was the inspiration behind what was published on FewerThan500.com?

Nearly true life.

What are you working on now?

I am also a photographer. I’m exploring putting together images, poems and memoirs, which I hope will become a book.

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