Brett Elizabeth thinks I'm a better writer than I actually am - she decided to tag me in this blog-fellow-writing-linkage activity that I surely don't deserve. She did it, though. She extends too much grace to me. She's my writing mentor, overall life coach and best friend - so, if she asks me to do something, I will.
The rules: get tagged. Tag two people. Answer questions. Hope your tag-ees answer the questions. The two people I'm tagging: amazingly smart, witty, and genuine Katie Pruitt and Danee Pye who is a crisp well of creative ideas, grace, and elegance. Once, they both worked together to keep me alive. I owe them more than I give - I regret it almost on a daily basis. (I am sorry)
They both deserve your readership, but mostly, your respect as amazing people and great writers.
1. What are you working on?
MFA. That's what I'm working on -- holy shit. And life. I can't express the amount of overwhelming all things are right now. I'm lucky if I can spit out a poem once a week. This winter was a wick to all goodness in my life - sopped that shit right up and has left me a shell. Summer is working her sweetness and I'm trying to pick up the little pieces of shiny that might be left and shake them down into this hollow mess of a heart. School and staying alive, that's what I'm working on. Artistically, I'm working on line breaks. And how to handle negative critiques. I have in my headspace an idea bumping into braincells -- I'd like to write a series of HOW TO poems. I have two that I loved writing; I think it'd be fun. And also, poems on or about or mentioning saints. But those are future messes to tidy up at a later date.
2. How does your work differ from other writers in your genre?
I don't know. I'm figuring that bullshit out as a I go. I'm a strong defender in the idea that no poem is original - I'm' just telling it from my fucked up perspective. So, in that way, I guess I'm different: I'm a foul mouthed hillbilly who has a serious drinking problem laced with an ever decreasing self-worth. Putting it that way, though, tosses me in the bag with lots of you chumps out there, right? :) I once had someone tell me my voice can sometimes be "Southern Gothic". I'll hold on to that. Oh, he also said I had a knack for creating moments and disregarding narrative. I don't know if that was a positive.
3. Why do you write?
Like Brett, and I suppose many writers, I've written forever. There was never a genesis like, it just always was. I have a weirdly saturating sadness that I can't understand - so I put words together. Over christmas I found an early story (holla' to my fiction roots) I had written maybe in the first grade called A Sad Day. It was about a baby bird who died. AAaaaaand, there you go. Basically: I write because I have to, you know?
4. What is your writing process?
Well... that has changed significantly since I've started this Bennington gig. I used to get really sad (so easy to do), drink cheap wine or whiskey, and write the night away. Now, I get all fizzy-stomached and nervous and think about how shit is going to get shoved through a meat grinder. I try to suppress that. And then I write. Lately, I haven't been happy with anything I've created. And it's been a hurtful few months. It'll happen again. In the mean time, I carry my notebook where ever I go. I get ideas from phrases I hear during the day or standing in line for coffee or wrangling the ache I have for western adventures. It comes and goes and if it's not there, I write anyway. Not so much a process. Just a way of life, right?
Thanks, Brett. Love you.