Fugue by Alec Lepisto

Alec Lepisto is a physics and mathematics honors student attending Idaho State University. His fiction piece “Fugue” has won the 202 Western Regional Honors Council (WRHC) award for fiction. Continue to read Scribendi’s exclusive interview with him! 

What was your purpose in creating “Fugue”?  

I don’t know that I had a particular purpose in writing “Fugue.” I certainly did not sit down intending to write the story as it is. Generally, I write by intuition and this story was a case of that. The first aspect of it that I had was a clear mental image of the opening scene. I really enjoy the aesthetic that I attempted to establish there, and that is what motivated me to continue through from that point. In terms of theme, Jeffery Epstein’s arrest and subsequent suicide were relatively recent events which were causing me to think about justice, retribution, and what best helps victims. The other thematic influence, notwithstanding my regular hobby of philosophy, was that whilst working on “Fugue” I wrote an article on existentialism, specifically Sartre’s ideas of freedom and authenticity. I think having written that article subconsciously prompted me to give the story an existentialist bent. As it stands, the story came to be about a woman who has lost faith in the traditional means of justice leading her to attempt to restore her own life and grappling with the ramifications of that decision. 

How do you think your work has changed (if at all) since you submitted to Scribendi?  

Being published in Scribendi and receiving the WRHC Award for Short Fiction has certainly increased my confidence in my writing. I tend to be my harshest critic, and a part of me continues to believe that I don’t deserve this. Despite that feeling, it has been extremely gratifying for my work to receive these accolades and be told that I can produce something of merit. I continue to evaluate what I write critically, but this opportunity has encouraged me to continue and have confidence in my work. 

Have you continued to write?  

I have continued to write after submitting “Fugue.” I have had several ideas for new stories, but none of them have yet coalesced into a full concept. So, I write when there is inspiration, but I don’t force it. At this point in my life, my degrees consume much of my time and I view writing as an enjoyable escape. In the future, writing may have a greater presence in my life and I will force myself to actually write more regularly. Regardless of whether I am actively writing, the ideas sit in the back of my mind and I develop them subconsciously and in spare moments throughout my day. 

Why do you enjoy the work you do or why do you do it?  

From a young age, I have always enjoyed reading. It seems natural to me that I developed a passion for writing alongside my love of good books. I have written small pieces of fiction since I was young, but my first full stories were written in my high school English classes. Writing satisfies the creative urge for me. I find inspiration in almost everything that I interact with, be it books, shows, visual art, or song lyrics. This inspiration spawns a multitude of ideas for me, and writing allows me to distill them into a concrete form. I love crafting characters and worlds, and by doing so I am able to explore philosophical ideas, complex psychologies, and their effect on a world. 

Why are publications like Scribendi important?  

Publications such as Scribendi provide students an opportunity to have their work compete nationally. This is invaluable in refining one’s skills and affirming a work’s merit. 

Why did you submit to Scribendi, as opposed to another publication? 

I chose to submit to Scribendi because it presented an excellent opportunity. My work would be judged by a blind panel against submissions from honors students around the country. There was also the potential of the Western Regional Honors Council Award, which served as an aspirational goal. In short, the potential national publication and receipt of a tangible award made Scribendi a compelling choice. 

Why should people submit to Scribendi? 

I would advise any eligible student to submit their creative work to Scribendi. Competing against honors students nationally is an excellent way to see how well one is doing and what one can improve. Publication in a national magazine is a wonderful accolade for a college student to achieve, and Scribendi serves as an opportunity for students nationwide.