As a finalist in the 2014 Fineline Competition for prose poems, short shorts, and everything in between, Bryce Emley’s piece, “Diving Deep (My Father as Octopus)” appears in MAR 35.1. He’s here today to discuss science as artistic inspiration, bizarre birthmarks, and his rather unorthodox reaction to his MAR acceptance.
Bryce Emley is a freelance writer and MFA student at NC State. His work can be found in Best American Experimental Writing 2015, The Normal School, Prairie Schooner, Your Impossible Voice, etc., and he serves on staff for Raleigh Review and BULL: Men’s Fiction.
Quick! Summarize your piece in 10 words or fewer.
dad = octopus
What can you share about this piece prior to its MAR publication?
This piece started when I read a science article I was finding pretty challenging but also vaguely intriguing, though I didn’t really know why. I stuffed the magazine into a drawer with the foggy impression that one day I would turn the article into a poem—a process which took an absurd amount of re-reading, thinking/talking to myself about, and revising (which is still going on, actually).
What was your reaction upon receiving your MAR acceptance?
I think I pumped my fist and humped the air a few times. It was less weird than it sounds.
You’re at a family reunion and some long-lost relative asks about your writing. What do you say?
I’m working on it.
Tell us one strange thing about yourself that does not involve writing.
There’s a birthmark on my left foot that looks from one angle like an angel carrying a basket, from another like a bad-ass bearded guy on a Harley.
Do you have another favorite piece of writing in this MAR issue? If so, name it and tell us why.
Jennifer K. Sweeny’s “Parenthetical at 35.” It’s so weird and so lovely and so logical in equal parts.
Can you show us a photo of you holding your MAR contributor’s copy?