Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

I met Kristen Forbes in the lobby of what sort of seems like an office building turned college campus and I then got to know her through her writing, which is as she is: beautiful and honest and funny -- and not afraid to  unearth the ugly truth about life. She writes brave essays and excellent fiction. (Linked are just a couple of my favorites. Please check out others!) 

When I finally had the chance to actually spend time with Kristen, in Boston, on the other side of the country from where we met, I felt like I'd known her for years, like we were just catching up. When I saw her name pop up in my inbox last week (shit) recently, I smiled in a way that I really needed to smile, if that makes sense. Her message asked me to participate in this Writing Process Blog Tour. And since I can't drink wine with Kristen in person, I like this idea of being close to her virtually. 

You can probably imagine how this goes, but to be sure, I'm going to borrow the description Kristen included - which she borrowed from the writer who passed this thing on to her, Brian Benson, who is going to be heading a book tour by bike! How cool is that? 

Anyway, here's his lovely description of how this works...maybe someone I pass this on to will be daring enough to change it up! 

"A writer answers a few questions about how and why and what they write, and then they ask a pal or three to do the same, and as the weeks go by, more and more of us share our precious secrets about the creative process, until eventually, probably in like mid-September, we all simultaneously self-actualize."   

Kristen shared her answers last week and asked me to share mine this week
There are no precious secrets here. 

1.)  What are you working on?
Um, lately I'm writing a lot of copy for a beloved freelance client a little all over the place. Over this past weekend I sort of maybe was able to finish something I started years ago. I guess it's the closest thing to a poem I've written in a very long time. I've also been trying to work on this um, book? I'll report back.  

2.)  How does your work differ from others of its genre?
This is such a huge and difficult question. I am not sure. I try to be me, and we're all our own little snowflakes, right?  Seriously,  My obsessions are mine - even if they're thoughts others share. 
(I've left this question and come back and I've decided, I'm all done trying to answer this question.)  

3.)  Why do you write what you write?

I write poetry, when I can, because I just love poetry. It sounds simple but it's true.  I always want to read more poetry, feel like I'll never have read enough. I love to hear to how the words sound in their moments, and how they make me see the world in a different way -- and I started writing poetry to see if I could do that. But the root of why I write poetry is that it's a way to sort of park a lot of the stuff my brain won't let go of. My obsessions and neuroses and extra feelings. 

I've been writing essays recently. I can't seem to get into the headspace for poetry, with two small children and bills to pay. But my obsessions and extra feelings are heightened. I also find myself willing to go into more difficult subject matter. I'm at a point in my life where I'm ready to get into tougher stuff. I'm able to express myself in a different way when less focused on making a poem, and I can immediately jump back into an essay when I find myself with 30 minutes. I'd love to get back to my poetry manuscript, but I'm going to focus on this memoir -- I think it's what I have to do right now...It kind of feels like I want to stay up all night with it. 

I don't feel like I'm doing a very good job with these questions! 

4.)  How does your writing process work?

So to write poetry I need a lot of hours and time to I don't know, procrastinate. I read and look at prompts, and go back and revise old poems. I love to be near the ocean or the woods and be able to walk, a bit of wine is also helpful. I like to be able to stay up all night with poetry. Hence the reason I'm not writing a lot of it lately.

Writing an essay is a different process for me. I'll find a few hours, very late at night, and draft something terrible, like a journal entry. I do this bunches of nights, until I've actually found what it is I'm writing. then I come back to it whenever I can, pick it apart and often, start over. This goes on until I send it to a friend and get some edits. I've submitted essays without heavily revising, and they got rejected, quite quickly. I've learned to love revisions. I'll let you know my process for actually writing a book, if/when I figure that out. I kind of want to just stay up all night with it. 

But, for now, sweet friends, I will send you to two lovely writers, Wendy Fontaine and Lisa Cheby. 

Wendy is the person that reads just about every piece of non fiction that I write. I admire her as a person, mom and of course, writer. You can hear Wendy in all of her brilliance, in a recent interview with a newly launched site called Single Mom Nation, and on her website, you can link to lots of her amazing writing. She'll update her blog next week with her thoughts on writing. 

Lisa Cheby is the person that reads just about every piece of poetry that I write, and she also checks up to make sure I'm still thinking about it. She's also the only follower of this blog. (thank you Lisa!) Lisa herself is a beautiful poet with a chapbook coming out from Dancing Girl Press, and she writes insightful, eloquent reviews as well. Please do yourself a favor and read some of Lisa's poetry. Also, check out her blog, where she'll share her blog tour post within the next couple of weeks.

I can't wait to hear their secrets. 
Thanks for reading. xxooo  

p.s. For now, I'm drinking a lot of coffee out of this wonderful travel mug - inspired by the fabulous Cheryl Strayed -- Santa brought mine but he got it at The Rumpus!  

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