Written By: Ashley Reynolds
Tim Tomlinson’s story “Gun” appeared the last issue of The Coachella Review magazine. “Gun” is about a twelve year old boy named Cliff who gets into trouble when decides to open fire on light company workers. When his brother Wally rats him out to his parents, Cliff must deal with the wrath of his ex-militant father before he can exact revenge.
Tomlinson is a co-founder of New York Writers Workshop, and co-author of its popular text, The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. He is the fiction editor of the webzine Ducts. Recent fiction and poetry appear or are forthcoming Asia Writes, Caribbean Vistas, Extracts, Floorboard Review, The New Poet, Saxifrage Press, The Tule Review, Unshod Quills, and in the anthology Long Island Noir (Akashic Books).
Where did you get the idea for the story “Gun.”
When I was roughly the same age as Cliff and Devon in the story, I fired a rifle at a group of men on a coffee break from laying cable. No casualties, I promise, but the men were not amused. Some of the imagery around that incident always stuck with me. I tried working with it many times. I had a hard time getting past Cliff’s breathless return home. Then other stories started to grow around the gunfire/chase fragment, and slowly the final two thirds of “Gun” emerged.
When was the first time you realized you were a writer?
In third grade, writing got me out of trouble. In tenth grade, it got me into trouble. That’s when I started thinking, hmm, maybe there’s something to this racket. But it wasn’t until I was eighteen and reading Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer for the first time that I thought: this is what I have to do.
What do you do in your free time that contributes the most to your writing?
I don’t know if I have anything like free time. But three things that contribute greatly to my writing are: reading, traveling, diving.
What person inspires you the most? Why?
I’ve been giving classes on the work of Bob Dylan. He’s a huge inspiration. Aside from washing a dish or two, he never had a job. That’s impressive. And the longevity speaks for itself.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Always come up slower than your bubbles.