BackStory: Five Questions with Jan Stinchcomb

Similaun im Morgenlicht (Ötztaler Alpen, Tirol, Österreich)

BackStory: Five Questions with Jan Stinchcomb
Author of Ice Man

What inspired you to write ‘Ice Man’?

This is loosely based on the Ice Man (Ötzi) found in the Ötzal Alps in 1991. While scientists were busy doing their work, I was immediately concerned with the emotional life and domestic details of the Ice Man. I wondered if maybe somebody had been waiting for him to come home when he was killed.

How much research did you do while writing and editing this piece? Did you discover anything that surprised you?

I didn’t want to know too much about him, so I mostly focused on his clothing and tools. I think I was surprised to learn they’re sure he was murdered.

Were there any interesting facts, details, or turns of phrase that didn’t quite make the final piece?

The original version was first-person, told in the woman’s voice, perhaps unconvincingly.

If you could live for one year in any historical period, when and where would it be, and why?

It would have to be the nineteenth century because that’s what I studied in graduate school. I still want to see how well I do in a corset.

What do you like most about writing flash (or prose poetry, or hybrid work)?

I used to have a lot of fancy theories about narrative and aesthetics. Now I can admit that flash is the perfect form for the anxiety-ridden age of the internet.

Jan Stinchcomb is the author of The Blood Trail (forthcoming from Red Bird Chapbooks). Her stories have recently appeared in Black Candies: The Eighties, Whiskey Paper, Atticus Review and Monkeybicycle, among other places. She is featured in The Best Small Fictions 2018 and is a reader for Paper Darts. Currently living in Southern California with her husband and children, she can be found at or on Twitter @janstinchcomb.

‘Similaun im Morgenlicht (Ötztaler Alpen, Tirol, Österreich)’ by Woodsiailvensis courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0 AT).