Adrick Brock is a writer from Toronto, Ontario. His fiction has appeared in The New Quarterly, EVENT, The Malahat Review, Riddle Fence, The Dalhousie Review and was shortlisted for the 2012 CBC Short Story contest. His first published story, ‘Nina In The Body Of A Clown,’ won the 2014 Western Magazine Award for Fiction. His journalism has appeared in Vancouver Magazine, Modern Farmer, Canoe & Kayak, and Megaphone. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and currently lives in Vancouver, where he enjoys hiking and embarrassing himself on dance floors.
Want to see more of Adrick? Keep scrolling to the bottom of the page where you’ll find a rapid fire interview where we find out what his last meal would be, what super power he wants and more.
What kind of stories do you tend to be drawn to?
The stories I’m drawn to tend to be intimate and personal but have large, almost existential implications. Like: sure, this story is about a mother trying to get her five-year-old to go to sleep, but it’s also about mortality and living with failure and even, to some degree, about how our children cannot save us from ourselves. I love a new, fresh voice—who doesn’t?—and I’m a big fan of stories that don’t conclude so much as drift into an ether of possibility.
What do you think the function of storytelling is in our world?
I sometimes think that stories are all we have. Eventually, we’ll run out materials to build our cities with, and power with which to fuel our technology, and when we’re reduced to hunting and gathering in a charred lizard world, we’ll sit around the fire and keep one another company with tales about how good we had it. Remember refrigerators? Queen-sized mattresses? I’m sure a math-oriented person will start scheming ways to count things, to rebuild the new world order, but I like to think it’s the raw and enduring power of narrative that keeps life on earth so interesting.
I know you write short fiction and are now stepping into the longer form of novel writing, what have you found to be the difference in telling those two different types of stories?
The biggest difference has been this process of continually opening up the story. In short fiction, you have maybe four or five pages to open up the story (to create tension, to ask questions, to raise stakes) and then you either start answering the questions you’ve posed, or you leave them unanswered. By the sixth page you’re out, done, finito. It’s been a fun and challenging exercise trying to push past the ‘short story complex’ and make a bigger mess over a longer stretch of pages. Short stories are laps in a pool; this novel writing business is like trying to cross a lake at night. What just touched my leg?
Is there any advice you can give to burgeoning writers?
Boring old-man advice: stick with it. At some point, your muse will run off with a younger, brighter writer, and you’ll need to rely solely on your own self-motivation and regimen to make the stories come alive.
Interview by Francine Cunningham, who is the social media executive for the UBC Creative Writing Alumni Association. What does that mean exactly? She is on the Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads accounts and our blog, posting information about our alumni, events and news. She also runs this interview series Alumni Interviews and loves being able to get to know the people who make this association what it is. For more information about Francine and her writing find her at www.francinecunningham.ca.