We were able to get a hold of Ross for a few questions regarding his story SHARK EYES and few other things that seemed applicable to the greater writing world (we think…maybe not…who knows?)
The Victoria Rose: What are you writing mostly these days?
Ross Hargreaves: Write now I have been working on short stories mostly in the flash fiction range. Work makes it hard to find time to write and the shorter pieces make me feel like I’m honing my skills, making my writing tighter. Most of these stories are set in the summer of 2006 at the Spearmint Rhino where I was a bar back slash cook. Someday I hope to make a book out of them.
TVR: What is the short story’s role in a society of e-book readers?
RH: People should read more short stories. Nothing will rip your heart out quicker than a good short story. Recently it seems that some collections have made the bestseller list so the market is out there. I think people who love short stories should talk about them more, really get the word out on writers or collections they like. A long time ago I never read short stories and then a teacher told me I should read Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson and that changed my life.
TVR: Your story, SHARK EYES, deals with isolation and a sense of moral ambiguity. But moreover, there’s a feeling that the love felt by your characters hasn’t been lost, but rather hasn’t been discovered or known at all. Is the allusion that love cannot be obtained in contemporary society present in many of your stories?
RH: Yes. Many of my stories deal with love and the absence of it. Love is such an important part of everything. Or at least important in how we are sold the world. And for some people, for whatever reason, it just isn’t possible. That leads to desperation and other bad things. Other choices. I have seen people I feel truly love each other and I’ve seen others who are probably together to keep the darkness at bay, and that opens up a new kind of darkness all together. I have never been in love and that makes me feel less than human at times. It is a never ending well of inspiration for my stories.
TVR: I’ve heard a lot of emerging writers stressing the value of MFA programs. In your opinion are these programs and institutions serving as just another vetting tool for ultimately finding a publisher for work, or do they have serious validity? As a younger writer what are your ideas of MFA programs? Are they needed?
RH: MFA. No MFA. I hear so much bullshit about it. How important they are. How they really aren’t that important. I’ve tried to get into a few programs. Hasn’t happened. Are they important. Sure. But even if they don’t let you in they can’t stop you from writing and that is what’s really important.