Thaddeus Rutkowski Author of "Iced"
And now for something completely different! Mr. Rutkowski enchanted us with his short, simple tale "Iced" and we would like to share him with you.
1. Do you remember the first story you wrote? Can you tell us a little bit about it? I remember writing a two-page adventure story on lined loose-leaf paper when I was in the second grade. It was a story about a rocket-ship pilot, and I drew cartoons to go with it. This pilot rode his craft into outer space, but his head and shoulders stuck out of the cockpit—he was wearing a helmet, but he wasn’t protected from the vacuum. I had been watching a puppetry series on TV called Fireball XL5, with a rocket (the Fireball) piloted by Steve Zodiac and crewed by Venus, a space doctor. That’s probably what influenced me.
2. The writing community is full of different kinds of writers. Do you consider yourself an author, writer, poet, storyteller—or something else? Why/what’s the difference to you? I consider myself mainly a fiction writer, though my latest two books have been poetry collections. I was in the fiction section of a writing program in grad school, and I have read more fiction than other types of writing. Fiction offers the possibility of storytelling, and I like to tell stories, though most of my stories are very short.
3. What is your primary genre and what drew you to it? Within the category of “fiction,” I write autobiographical fiction or fiction based on my experience. Of course, things do not happen in my life)the way they happen in my stories. I put together events that may have happened far apart in time or may not have happened at all. I hope this approach makes for a more urgent, more immediate story.
4. What genre would you consider the story you wrote for Winter’s Vindication? Why did you choose to write outside/inside your genre? I would consider my story in Winter’s Vindication to be autobiographical fiction. However, on rereading the story, I see elements of magical realism. The narrator half expects to find “the missing link” while digging in the snow on a prehistoric sea bed near his home. At the end of the story, the narrator seems to be flying (without an airplane) from a cold climate to a warm one.
5. We had a hard time finding enough fantasy stories to fill the quota. We got SO MUCH science fiction submitted to us! Do you have a theory why so many short stories are science fiction? My theory is that science fiction is popular because it’s not really fiction. It’s about our familiar world, but the narrative is disguised or removed a couple of steps. Actually, I didn’t know you were calling for fantasy stories. I thought you were looking for stories about snow and ice. My story is about how I spent winter as a child—maybe my experience seems not quite real. I’m lucky you liked it.
6. What is one writing quirk you have that you would like to train out of yourself? How are you doing that? I’d like to get rid of the quirk of being blocked, or partially blocked--not knowing what to write. So I am training myself to write when I don’t know what to say. I figure that anything is better than nothing. I can go back to that "anything" later and maybe find something.
7. What is your favorite story or novel you have written (published or not)? This is a tough question. I think the story “Iced” in Winter’s Vindication comes close. One of my stories was made into the short film Tetched, which is now on YouTube. The filmmaker and the actors did a good job, and I’m glad I was involved.
8. Lastly, what are your writing goals for 2021? I’ll continue to write short fiction and poetry—some good, some not so good, some that make it out of the woodpile. I think Gandalf said in The Lord of the Rings, “His mind is like a woodpile: thing wanted always buried.” I hope I do better than that.
Let our readers know where to find you online:
Wikipedia: Thaddeus Rutkowski
Facebook: Thaddeus Rutkowski