Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Meet Your Senior Reader: Fiction

This series introduces you to the people who are reading your stuff

Daniel Nyikos was born in Germany to Hungarian parents and raised in America. He has an MA from Utah State University in English with a Creative Writing emphasis, and is pursuing a PhD in the same at UNL. He has been published in American Life in Poetry. When he was young he wanted to be a fighter pilot, a dinosaur or a writer and is still holding out hope for the first two.

 

How would you describe yourself, as a reader and writer?

I think that all writers are readers first, and I believe we read out of love for stories. We are all natural storytellers; we understand our world through stories. I think we tell stories trying to come to grips with something we can't overcome. This is why the best stories are at once beautiful and painful. In the Akira Kurosawa film Rashomon, there is a quote something like, "We all want to forget something, so we tell stories. It's easier that way." We tell stories because we are flawed, because we fear and hope. If we were perfect, there would be no need for stories.

What kind of a fiction submission gets you excited?

I like stories that feel kind, even though they are about complex and flawed characters. Kindness in a story is not the same as gentleness; terrible things can happen in a story, but a kind story does not judge its characters or attempt to impose moral order on them. A kind story does not try to trick or mislead the reader, though an unreliable narrator can be wonderful. A story is like a gift in which some elegant moment is wrapped up, a thought that couldn't be expressed any other way. The less cheesy answer is that I long for a story that surprises me. I like stories that show me something new by showing me a new way to look at something I thought I knew, or else showing me something I never imagined I would see.

What (writing-wise) are you currently working on? What do you do for fun?

I am currently working on the novel that will form the body of my dissertation. I'm also working on a few short stories in various stages. For fun, I mostly read or watch films and television. I'm also a big nerd, and I love roleplaying games, science fiction, sword-and-sorcery, and video games.