Tania Martin and the Little “Pink Suitcase”

Tania Martin
Tania Martin

There is something magical about Tania Martin’s “Pink Suitcase,” which we are excited to present June 3 at Cafe Stritch as part of Play On Words: Take Flight.

Tania is originally from New Zealand and has lived most of her life in California. She earned a B.S. in geology from UC Davis, and has worked as a lab technician, geophysicist, and technical writer. She stumbled into a writer’s workshop in Alta, Utah a few years ago and has been hooked on creative writing ever since. Her focus has been on the short story and flash fiction. She co-founded The Flash Fiction Forum reading series with Lita Kurth, and she is an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. She also helped curate the Spoken Word Lounge reading series at The San Jose Art Party festival held at the Santa Clara Fair Grounds in 2014.

Publications, Honors or Awards:

Tania’s flash fiction has been published in Sugar Mule Literary Magazine and Flash Flood’s online anthology. She recently had her poem “Smoke and Fire” published in (After) Life, Poems and Stories of the Dead, Purple Passion Press, 2015.

 What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?

I was delighted to hear there was another venue for story-based art in San José. My co-founder of Flash Fiction Forum and I reached out to the folks at Play On Words. Julia Halprin Jackson, one of the founders, read her wonderful flash fiction for our reading series. I jumped at the chance when she mentioned that there was a call for submissions for Play On Words. I am very excited to see my story “Pink Suitcase” performed by actors. Because it’s a character driven story, I think it will be well suited for the stage. I’m also really excited to be part of the strong writer’s community emerging in San José.

 Which writers or performers inspire you?

Tolstoy and Austen are favorites, but lately Denis Johnson has had a big influence on me, and I just read J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey for the first time and thought it brilliant.

Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.

I very much admired Poet Laureate (Santa Clara County) David Perez’s poetry booth, aka “The Poetry Site,” in which he organized local poets to write poems for festival patrons on typewriters. The poetry booth is both a performance piece and the individual works of the poets. The process of the poets at work on their old fashioned typewriters, thinking and punching away at the keys, then handing over poems to curious hands was inspiring, and I thought this is a great way to expose people to poetry by making it personal.  It’s the kind of collaboration I hope to see more of in San José.

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