Did you have teachers who inspired and supported you? I had some fantastic ones, including the same high school English teacher for two of the four years. Having dedicated and passionate teachers who support creative pursuits is vital. Today’s Write Now interview features high school teacher and author P. J. Flie. Enjoy the interview.
Who are you?
I’m Peter John (3 more middle names because my father promised his friends that he’d name his kid after them) Flie (pronounced ‘fly’). Whew! See, there’s a whole story there and I haven’t even gotten past my name.
I’m a high school teacher based in Toronto, Canada. I’m a lifetime artist. I love to create, and through teaching, I get to share that passion and encourage others to build their own creativity.
What do you write?
From a very young age, my teachers always noted my creativity by saying, “He has quite the imagination.” I was always spinning narratives for my friends. I got a bit older and started writing those stories down. But in my twenties, I took a break from writing and focused on theatre performance, learning to be an actor.
I’m very grateful that I took that time to study stories from the perspective of a single character. It builds empathy and understanding. I was taught never to judge the roles I played; it’s impossible to convincingly portray someone if you are discriminating against their choices.
My imagination has always been full of elaborate ideas. It was natural that I delve into Science Fiction and Fantasy, my two favorite genres, as an outlet for my creativity. But the bigger the ideas, the more there is a need for them to be grounded in a very human story; that’s where my history in performance really shines and helps me to write the depths of each character.
Where do you write?
I sit at a custom-made maple desk in the spare bedroom of my condo, working on my desktop computer which I built myself — it’s a completely personalized machine, I have the design and structure that works perfectly to support my work in writing. I have a painting done by my cousin hanging just above my monitor. It’s his interpretation of a space-scape. Whenever I need inspiration, I simply look up. I also have a gorgeous view of the city from the twenty-seventh floor, so that helps too. Though, as long as I have a computer and a quiet room, that’s basically all I need.
When do you write?
I write at any time. Though I have a pattern of ramping up the longer I write. The morning is slow, the afternoon speeds up to a good pace, and the evening can be quite feverish until around midnight when I crash. It’s a Cinderella story. Ha! In all seriousness, if I start writing on Monday and I work each day, I can produce three or four times the amount by Friday.
Why do you write?
Simply, I write because I have to. Like I said, I’m a lifetime artist. I need to create. If I stop, it’s literally as if the world fades to shades of grey. All monochromatic shades aside, my imagination never stops running. If I stop writing, my dreams grow too vivid. Those worlds demand that I put them on paper, so I can have a good night’s sleep. I have a lot of stories I want to share; this is only the start.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
I set aside entire days to work on writing. It doesn’t matter if I only write a single page or a dozen chapters. I always see it as progress, as long as I’ve spent the time. I find ideas tend to percolate. If I don’t get a lot done one day, the next day is much better. I also play through a scene in my head, like an internal movie. I find that if I can observe the world and its characters, then there’s always something I can put on a page.
Bonus: What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Reading aside, I love stories in any form: exceptional television or film. Though currently, my new Bengal kitten, Teela, is demanding much of my time. She’s so smart and really cute, a very dangerous combination.
My thanks to P. J. Flie for today’s interview.