Maia Sichitiu received an Honorable Mention for her piece A Short Documentary Clip in our One Month of Solitude Writing Competition.
AE: How long ago did you start writing, and what prompted you to start?
MS: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I always loved reading because it allowed me to escape into other universes. When I realized I could make my own universes, it was a revelation.
AE: What are some of your favorite books, and/or who are some of your favorite authors?
MS: My current favorite book is Slaughterhouse Five! My favorite authors include Kurt Vonnegut, Chimamanda Adichie, Khaled Hosseini, and Truman Capote.
AE: Within which genre do you prefer to write?
MS: My favorite genre to write in is magical realism.
AE: How would you describe your writing process? What environment allows you the most concentration?
MS: My writing process involves playing good music and not much else. I usually like to read something beforehand because, for me, good writing is often inspiring and makes me want to write.
AE: What inspired you to write “A Short Documentary Clip” from the perspective of an outside observer?
MS: This story is almost directly inspired in part by my own quarantine routine. I chose the outside observer perspective because, when I was thinking about how my daily routine and mindset have changed from a few months ago, it was like I didn’t even recognize the person I was in quarantine. I wanted to echo that with a narrator who similarly could not understand the person they were observing.
AE: What do you hope readers take away from your story? Alternatively, what is something you believe people in self-quarantine need to know?
MS: I hope readers take away that it’s okay if they feel like they can’t recognize themselves right now. We’re going through a difficult time right now, and if you’re able to take some time to distract yourself from it all for a while, whether that be through watching a dumb show or writing, you should.
AE: How do you think the COVID-19 pandemic will shape or influence literature from here on out?
MS: It’s really hard to say how the pandemic will shape literature. I think a lot of COVID-19 literature itself will be a form of coping for many writers – we might get a lot of literature that’s meant to be calming and a lot that’s paranoid and reflects the feelings lots of people have while stuck in quarantine. The only thing I’m sure of is that it will be a mixed bag. However, if we start moving in a positive direction, where we put ourselves back together once it’s safe to go out again, I’m hopeful that a lot of the literature people might start to produce will be hopeful about the simple things in life that we might not have focused on as much before.