Write Here, Write Now: Destination by Kallista Kusumanegara

In Season 2 of Write Here, Write Now: A Vocal Podcast, host Erica Wagner interviews winners of the Vocal+ Fiction Awards

By Write Here, Write Now: A Vocal PodcastPublished about a month ago 2 min read

Kallista Kusumanegara constructs a singular vision out of flashes of many, lending new ideas to what comes after life. "Destination" calls for a letting-go, allowing us to surrender to the wash of words, visuals, and stories.

What was the impetus for your winning story? Walk us through your initial act of creation.

I owe this story to "The 3 A.M. Epiphany," a book of writing prompts by Brian Kiteley. My task was to craft a piece in which I was limited to using "I" or "me" only two times. "[A] lesson you might learn from this exercise is how important it is to let things and events speak for themselves beyond the ego of the narration."In the beginning, I thought it would be a good mind stretch to write from the point of view of someone who was dying, but I ultimately ended up writing from the point of view of someone who has not yet lived. Perhaps, as the story explores, the two perspectives are one in the same.

What does it take for a story to grab you? How do you grab your audience?

Truthfully, I don't believe that I've written enough to have established a personal narrative style. However, I do enjoy clever use of subversion. I adore highly conflicting ideas and imagery. I am often drawn to things that are difficult or uncomfortable to fathom.

Who are your favorite writers and why? Do you have any favorite Vocal Creators?

I love David Foster Wallace and Bret Easton Ellis for their honest narratives. They strike me as two individuals who see society as it really is, extraordinary in its grotesquely human way. I am also fond of Aimee Bender, who is a magical realist. "Magical" and "realism" are two words I can only hope readers will use to describe my writings in the future.Rhett Gentile is a writer that I would not miss on Vocal. We first met in a summer writing class just before middle school and since then (it has been 16 years) I have continued to look forward to each of his stories. I would describe his work as ambitious and quietly romantic, with a touch of madness.

How has sharing your writing in life and on Vocal affected you as a Creator?

This is the first time I have dared to share my work publicly and I am so glad that I challenged myself to take that leap. With no prior formal writing history, I have become, suddenly, a winner of a fiction competition. This giant personal win has opened me up to taking more creative risks, and I am one humble step closer to believing in myself and my inner potential. I will not (cannot) believe that this is real until I am holding the Vocal anthology in my hands. Even then, this feeling of being in a dream will probably persist.

What advice do you have for other Creators?

Do not limit yourself to one world. In other words, reach outside of what you know, become uncomfortable, experience things that are new while cherishing the old. Experience is everything. Be true to yourself and your writing, and readers will inevitably follow.

Stay tuned for new episodes of Write Here, Write Now Season 2 launching weekly.


About the Creator

Write Here, Write Now: A Vocal Podcast

Sex, death, relationships, nature, families... If you like to stop, think and consider things a little differently, join host Erica Wagner as she introduces a new Vocal creator’s story each week.

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (3)

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  • R. J. Raniabout a month ago

    I'm so grateful for this format of sharing winners, dear Vocal Podcast team! Having multiple ways to engage with a piece of writing is powerful and adds so much depth and meaning. Destination was definitely one I listened to and went back to read and it is probably one I'll be going back to again! Thank you for sharing this 🤗

  • Madoka Moriabout a month ago

    I've been waiting for this one. This is my favourite story on Vocal.

  • Kristen Balyeatabout a month ago

    Great interview and I absolutely adore Destination! Wonderful, magical, brilliant!!! 💫

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