weird words with ashley hutson

Your story “Dear Queenie” appeared with us in our 90s MIXTAPE issue. Can you tell us a little bit about your inspiration for the piece, and how you feel like you’ve grown as a writer since having it published?

I’ve been a PJ Harvey fan from way back, and I always thought her song “50-Foot Queenie” was so funny and savage. In the 90s she projected a gaudy, swaggering, surreal version of herself that I appreciated. I still like this little thing I wrote, though reading over it now I wish I had either stuck to the number 50 or the word “fifty.” That’s how I know I’ve grown as a writer, I guess.

What advice would you as a writer now, give you as a writer then? 

Sit on things for a while before submitting. Be better.

What time of day do you do most of your writing? Describe your writing rituals and your creative space.

I write at my kitchen table by the window until June, when we put the air conditoner in. Then I move to the living room until September. I avoid schedules because violating them is too demoralizing. I write any old time. I have no rituals other than regular self-loathing.

Are there repetitive themes within your writing? Where do you draw inspiration for these themes, and how do you find yourself drawn to them?

I frequently write about death and loss because I will never understand either.

Our goal is to publish absurdly unclassifiable literature. Do you have a favourite piece of writing that goes against the grain?

Probably Ashbery’s monostitch, “I Had Thought Things Were Going Along Well.”

What pieces and/or projects are you currently working on?

I am writing longer short stories that I want to grow into a collection. It is slow but satisfying going.

Ashley Hutson’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Catapult, Electric Literature, Wigleaf, Split Lip Magazine, matchbook, Fanzine, SmokeLong Quarterly, and The Best Small Fictions 2018 Anthology. She lives in Sharpsburg, Maryland. Read more at www.aahutson.com.