Monday, June 14, 2010

From january's blog Writer's Meme

Consider yourself tagged if you're reading this.

1. What's the last thing you wrote?
An email. A blog post. A shopping list. A poem. In that order.

2. Is it any good?
My shopping list was awesome. The email was kind and the blog post was okay. The poem is too young to judge. Ask me in a month or two.

3. What's the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?
My mum saved a poem I wrote in grade school. I also have a book of poems I wrote in 5th grade that includes a limerick about a dog from NewYork.

4. Favorite genre of writing?
To write: Poetry, creative non-fiction
To read: Poetry, memoir/creative non-fiction & non-fiction

5. How often do you get writer's block?
I also don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe there are times I don't write as well as I would like, but at anytime I can put pen to paper or finger to keyboard and write. If I can speak, I can write.

6. How do you fix it?
I read poets who I love. I am always inspired by strong well-crafted work.

7. Do you save everything you write?
Most, but not all.

8. How do you feel about revision?
I love to revise and in fact have ruined some good poems by over-revising them. I think revision can help me take my poems to a deeper level when I do it well.

9. What's your favorite thing that you've written?
The poem, How Killer Blue Irises Spread. It came out of me mishearing an NPR report (it was killer FLU viruses) and I loved that my mistake turned into a poem. Plus that poem won the Atlantic Monthly student poetry prize when I was an MFA student and was published there, which makes me happy.

I've also written 30,000 words on my week retreat to Hedgebrook and I'd like that to become something larger, maybe a book? I'm working on that and so it's currently my favorite thing.

10. What's everyone else's favorite thing that you've written?
Vacationing with Sylvia Plath or Of a Forgetful Sea

11. What writing projects are you working on right now?
Proofing Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, my manuscript about the inspiration of going on a writing retreat and my disastrous entry back into the real world (I haven't blogged in detail about this and this goes into the details), some new poems, an interview with another poet about her book, and 2 other projects with friends that are just in the fragile beginnings and not quite ready for the world yet.

12. What's one genre you have never written, and probably never will?
Romance. I'm just not romantic by nature and would probably have the woman leaving Fabio to return to school to get her degree.

13. Do you write for a living?
Or for a life? For a life I write, enjoy my family & friends and try to live simply.

For a living (I'm guessing this is polite speak for how I earn $$) -- I do editing and consulting with poets and writers as well as work one-on-one with poets and creative non-fiction writers to help them with their work (poems, essays, chapbooks, larger manuscripts). I also teach workshops and classes at writing conferences and festivals as well as sell the occasional book or two.

14. Quote something you've written, the first thing to pop into your mind.
"sometimes it's the little things that pull you under." from Vacationing with Sylvia Plath


Pray for poets as we are only a story of paper ... From Believing Anagrams


  1. I bet your shopping list does rock! Great answers. You have lots of projects going--hope to see them in print or online sometime soon.

  2. I handwrote two letters this afternoon. It seemed almost a revolutionary act, though I handwrite in my journal, so I don't know quite why it surprised me, but it did.

  3. 1. A three-line haiku-ish poem, one of 18 such poems I wrote over a period of two days.

    2. Yeah, I think so.

    3. The first two poems I wrote when I was 14 years old. Unearthed them, and several others from that year, sometime during the past year or so.

    4. Poetry, to write and to read. (I write other kinds of writing too, and I like to read lots of other kinds of writing, but the question said "favorite," so...)

    5. I don't get writer's block any more. Sometimes I have "dry" periods, when not much is coming out, or only a line or two here and there, but I've come to understand that it runs in cycles, and that if I just wait out the dry times the writing will come again.

    6. If it's been a while and no writing is coming out yet, I spend time walking around or riding the bus, and just observing things around me, without reaching for words. Poetry (in my experience) usually begins in the silence before words. Even if I don't immediately write anything as a result, just the act of getting to that quiet place before words can be deeply therapeutic.

    7. Yes, I save everything I write.

    8. I revise very little, in the conventional sense -- I don't work in drafts. I write line by line, crossing out and rewriting as I go. If I get stuck halfway through a poem, I wait it out until I know what comes next. Generally by the time I get to the last line the poem is done.

    9. I can't possibly pick a favorite thing that I've written.

    10. I have no idea what anyone else's favorite thing is that I've written. (In a poetry writing class I was in during my last year in high school, I wrote a poem once called "Insulting the Garbage," and people kept asking me to read it again when we were reading our poems in class, which we did daily. I didn't ever care much for the poem myself.)

    11. Right now I'm writing poems, with (probably) a next manuscript taking shape, though a little early to tell yet.

    12. I've never written motivational how-to-succeed-in-business anything, and I'm really really pretty sure I never will.

    13. I don't write for a living. Of course I write for a life.

    14. "we emerge from the earth / as crude stone. in the blast furnace / of history we forge / ourselves into iron."


    My favoritE anagram is one I just recently caught onto:

    It's the phrase "Mr. Mojo risin'," that Jim Morrison sings over and over in the Doors' song "L.A. Woman." According to a recent public T.V. documentary about the Doors, after the band recorded the song, Morrison showed the other band members a slip of paper on which was written:


    (It was an anagram of his name.)


Always love to hear from you...and the anonymous option is open for those feeling shy.

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