B. Freese is a teacher, psychotherapist and author of The I Tetralogy,
(2005). Freese’s nonfiction articles have appeared in the New York
Times, Voices: The Art and Science of Psychotherapy, and Publishers
Marketing Association Newsletter. In 2005, the Society of Southwestern
Authors honored Mathias B. Freese with a first-place award for personal
with Mathias B. Freese
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Mathias B. Freese:
I worked on these stories for about three decades in between servicing
this economy, fathering, being a husband and overall struggling.
Although I became a psychotherapist, the stories were not bathed like
Achilles in Freudian sauce. Some readers feel that my background
influenced my writing. Eric Hoffer read Montaigne
while a stevedore. Don’t confuse the person with the job, an American
foible. I made a personal pact with myself after many rejections that I
would publish a collection after more than half of the stories were in
print, and so that came to be. I am very patient in certain areas.
TSR: Did you
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
not. I write when I feel I am compelled to write, and I am not a MFA
product. The present “collection” I am working on came naturally from
The i Tetralogy, a historical fiction on the Holocaust. Tentatively titled, Working Through The Holocaust,
it is a compilation of traditional and experimental stories which I
feel I must get to as the grim reaper is around the corner.
TSR: How did
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
MBF: I trust my confidant, writer Jane Holt, who wrote a splendid introduction to Down to a Sunless Sea,
to assist me in selecting what are my best stories and the order they
should have in the book. As you well know, writers are infamously poor
judges of their own works. Aren’t we all weak at assessing who we are?
Show me certainty and I will show you a fool.
does the word "story"
mean to you?
have a passionate feeling you need to hear from me just because I am
part of this species. Whether you want to hear my passion is entirely
up to you. I am compelled to say it. I give you me. Any craft that
comes with that is just gravy.
have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?
I have no schizoid tendencies; the reader is me. I write to me and for
me. If you come along for the ride, that is just fine. Once you write
for a "reader" something wilts and something is merchandised.
TSR: Is there
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection,
anything at all?
MBF: Did you feel the pain? Did you taste the sadness and heartbreak?
TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
Are they? News to me. I write because I feel I must say and tell. I
write for my children’s patrimony. My publisher believes that after I
croak my Holocaust fiction will be recognized as extraordinary.
TSR: What are
you working on now?
Using therapeutic lingo, I am literally working through the Holocaust
and the impact it has made on me. Any human being who does not consider
that species-devastating event in his or her life is an incomplete
person, to say the least.
TSR: What are
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
MBF: None of late. Here are stories that moved me. Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio; I Have No Mouth and I Want to Scream, Harlan Ellison, and any short story by Joseph Conrad, The Lagoon, to wit.