The Stove-Junker

Eckleburg: What drives, inspires, and feeds your artistic work?

S.K. Kalsi: Language inspires me, everyday speech with its hidden rhythms, cadences, and how meaning is contextual. My son inspires me. Seeing his fearlessness at play. Watching him take risks, fall, get back up, and try again. His dogged persistence. Nature inspires me. The landscapes of my past, my ideal landscapes, the ocean, the forests and mountains, birdsong, the majesty of wolves, and how weather can influence emotions and people’s behavior.

Eckleburg: If you had to arm wrestle a famous writer, poet or artist, either living or dead, who would it be? Why? What would you say to distract your opponent and go for the win?

S.K. Kalsi: Why not Papa Hemingway? His bravado needs challenging. His self-assuredness needs testing. For what is a great writer if not also a someone willing to be tested once in a while. To distract him I would tell him a beautiful bullfighter just walked in the door behind him with a bottle of scotch and a handful of cuban cigars.

Eckleburg: What would you like the world to remember about you and your work?

S.K. Kalsi: I would like them to see me as a writer who bled on the page, who put everything into his work, left no emotion unexplored, from grief to loneliness, joy to heartbreak, love to passion. I would like them to know me as the equivalent of a flamenco guitarist whose words were pure music on the page.

Influenced by poets, musicians, and philosophers, S.K. Kalsi crafts sentences that resonate with depth and power.

S.K. Kalsi holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco, a BFA in creative writing from Long Beach State, and a diploma in screenwriting from UCLA. His short stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including The Gettysburg Review, Glint Literary Journal, The Criterion, among others. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Northern, CA.

SELFIE INTERVIEW | Andrew McLinden, Gertrude Stein Award 2014, 1st Place Winner


I’ve always been interested in books and music, although coming from a working class background, I didn’t call it art. I was brought up to believe that artists handled paint brushes. I’m a lyricist and co-write songs with my brother Paul: —Andrew McLinden


Who would you arm wrestle, if you could?

I’d most probably arm wrestle Dan Brown. The way I see it, the longer I arm wrestle him, the longer I keep him away from writing. Any man who creates the following lines though can’t be distracted for very long:


How do you want to be remembered?

I used to think that was important. Now I don’t. These days I realise that the only thing that counts is a statue. If you don’t have a statue erected after you die then you’ve failed on a fundamental level.