Tanner Pratt is the author of the BR&S Prose Prize for his short story Crocodile in the 2022 issue of the magazine. We were able to catch up with him in the fall semester about his writing. Tanner started writing at a young age, “In elementary school, I was writing some poetry, but stopped until my Junior year in high school. I was influenced by one of my teachers to continue writing”. It wasn’t until college that he started to branch out from poetry to prose. The outcome was a tight and moving story created one month before submissions were due in February 2022. The self-edited Crocodile was a piece “most personal and important to me”, Tanner explained as we sipped our coffee before heading to class that Friday morning.
When asked about how he approaches writing he said, “I have an idea and write it down, then I come back to it later and finish it when I’m in a writing mood”. The “writing mood” is such an interesting idea in a way. At first, it seems quite simple but then think of the opening from Moby Dick where Ishmael feels a “damp, drizzly November in my soul” (Melville 1). It’s a mood that he cannot ignore and must “get out to sea as soon as I can”. These sorts of moods are not just sad or happy, they lie deep in the soul and take hold of us and flow through us, but do not last forever. Tanner certainly captured the “writing mood”, in Crocodile.
Tanner is studying for his bachelor’s in literature with a minor in film at Idaho State. He read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina in high school and regarded that as one of his influences. More recently, he enjoys the poetry of Margaret Atwood and has grown an appreciation for Shakespeare. He lists Interstellar as one of his favorite films, saying “That movie was so groundbreaking to me”. Tanner is interested in teaching but wants to explore other possibilities including pursuing a master’s in literature. We are excited to see what Tanner produces next.