This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.
Sommer Schafer received her MFA from San Francisco State University in 2013. Her fiction is currently available or forthcoming in Brewed Awakenings II, Glimmer Train, Santa Monica Review, China Grove, Room, A Bad Penny Review, Barge Journal, Eleven Eleven, kill author, and Fiction 365. She lives with her husband and two children in San Rafael, California, and is a member of the online writing collective The Fiction Forge. Her story “A Final Affair” was published in Issue 1.1. Visit her online at http://sommerschafer.com.
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3288 Review: How did you get started writing? Was there a recognizable inspiring moment or event which started you down this path?
Sommer Schafer: I credit the beginning of my love of writing with two things: my parents’ love of books, and receiving my first journal for my 9th birthday.
The first, because my parents were constantly reading to us; even, I suspect, before we could sit unassisted or lift our heads. Some of my earliest, happiest memories are of plopping down of the ground with a good book or two in hand, and getting lost. What a profound gift my parents bestowed upon us when they gave us the gift of imagination! They also seemed to always love telling a good story. Not necessarily a rip-roarer or something with a beginning, middle or end. They were vignettes about odd family relatives or meandering stories of memories of their youth. My dad’s tended to be funny; often philosophical and honest. My mom tended more toward the dramatic and incredible: that pond on our walk was the magical pond of the moon fairies; when the owls came out at night they hooted magical spells to the bats. We didn’t have a lot of fancy stuff growing up, but I always had available shelves and shelves of books (most of them used), and plenty of conversation. Even before I could string complex clauses together, I was curiously pulling out those tomes by John Irving and Leon Uris; feeling their beautiful dusty weight against my palms and fingertips.
The second, because I really started writing regularly when I got a journal, and I fell in love. Countless journals later, I’m still going strong. Keeping a journal allowed me to “voice” my observations; to work through my own thoughts and confusions; to express, in as much detail as I wanted, my awe of life. From then on out, writing became a way of life, as integral as breathing. It became the one place where I could think and exist uncensored. My greatest wish today, even beyond wanting to be published and read, is that I never lose that unabashed love of the written word, of, as Virginia Woolf wrote, life itself. Continue reading →