Award-winning author of more than fifty published short stories, David Borofka, explores the relationship of spirituality with sexuality, religion with the deceptions of piety. Elizabeth Gaffney, writing in The New York Times Book Review, observes, “Moments of giddy redemption leaven the woes of Mr. Borofka’s characters, but the real miracle is the deftness, subtlety and humor with which he makes their many bedeviled lives cohere in a single vision of well-earned affirmation.” His work has earned such awards as the Missouri Review’s Editors’ Prize and Carolina Quarterly’s Charles B. Wood Award for Distinguished Writing while his collection, Hints of His Mortality, won the 1996 Iowa Short Fiction Award. His novel, The Island, was published by MacMurray & Beck, portions of which appeared in Gettysburg Review and Shenandoah. New work has recently appeared in Image, Southern Review, Manoa, and Glimmer Train. Recent projects, My Life as a Mystic and Christmas in Jonestown, were finalists for the 2017 Flannery O'Connor and 2019 Jordan Literary awards respectively. His latest project, a collection of stories entitled A Longing for Impossible Things, has been accepted by Wyatt Prunty for the Johns Hopkins Poetry and Fiction Series and will be published in April 2022.
What writing is and is not:
Writing fiction is not rocket science or calculus, it is not dependent on theory or lofty abstraction, nor is it the life-and-death drama of medicine or the cutthroat battle of the courtroom. The writer of fiction does not need the alphabet of credentials after his or her name in order to play the game. But what the writer of fiction absolutely needs is the willingness to dream, to trust the truthfulness of his or her intuition, and the ability to translate those dreams onto paper, knowing full well that no matter how distant the contents of the story or how effaced the writer remains, his or her heart is going to be on display. That can be a dangerous exploration and a certain kind of bravery is required, for those who write face dragons every day.
For those who would write and participate in workshops:
I know too many people who talk about their desire to write the way children talk about becoming movie stars and firemen—as though the wish were enough—and over the years, I’ve had to be honest with myself as well. Writers write. And when I’m not writing, I’m not a writer. I’m a reader when I read, I’m a teacher when I teach. And I’m a writer when I write. And these are the greatest gifts of a workshop: the encouragement to write, accountability to others when we don’t, the expectation of an audience, the fear of disappointing. For there is no other way to produce a story or a novel, except by the discipline of sitting still long enough—alone, without distractions—to think, to compose, to edit, and to start over if need be. The practice of writing may be the loneliest, most solitary art, but we can help one another if we are honest and committed to the craft rather than relying on our most idle of desires.