How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?
I photograph more than I write. I have been making animal portraits for more than 10 years. Writing is an added bonus to my portraits. I like to write very short stories about the individual animals as photo captions. I recently decided to pursue writing on its own.
Animals are my inspiration. My goal is to confront the reader to the fact that animals have deep emotional and cognitive abilities. The point I want to make is that animals deserve that we treat them better.
What inspired you to write flash fiction?
I like flash fiction because it challenges you to make every word count. Even if a story is very short, I like the way it can leave a lasting impression on the reader.
Describe your writing process.
In my day job as a humanitarian and educator, I write a lot of content. However, none of it is creative. It’s all about instructions and guidelines. For creative stories, I jot down sentences in my notebook and on my phone at any time of the day or night. Then I sit down at my computer to gather all the notes to see if it makes a coherent story.
What was the inspiration behind what was published on FewerThan500.com?
The story is inspired by a true event. A monkey’s hand was mutilated after it picked up a lighted firecracker. Videos and photos of the monkey made rounds on social media. People were outraged for a while then quickly forgot the incident. I wrote the story to remind people that monkeys are not pests. They are just trying to survive after their jungle was turned into a golf course.
I wrote this short piece as part of a writing program called UnRepresented KL. The exercise was to write about an unrepresented narrative centered around the city of Kuala Lumpur. It seemed natural to write from the point of view of an animal. Urban animals are everywhere but nobody gives them a second thought.
This is the first time I have submitted a flash fiction piece for publication, therefore I am beyond thrilled that it was accepted.
What are you working on now?
I am working on my ongoing photography series called OwlsKnow Everything and Monkey Souls. I hope to continue writing flash fiction on animals and other topics. Visit me online: https://500px.com/shamjolimie / Instagram @sham.jolimie / FB/ Imagery By Sham Jolimie