Feb 162018
 

… for some people, the past continues to gnaw at and disturb the present, and maybe this seemingly simple sentence is at root behind everything I’ve ever felt compelled to write.”

How did you discover that you were a writer?

In adolescence when it was the only way I could sort out the chaos that life seemed to be; it then became the only way for me to understand, to be able to put my emotions or experiences into a form and then look at them from more of a distance. And then, (or therefore?) I really wasn’t suited for any other line of work.

Describe your writing process.

By now, I’m not so much spewing raw emotion in order to control, examine and understand it. Working on a current project is discipline, but without any mandatory “words per day.” I do not stress over long dry periods because I know my brain is working behind-the-scenes and eventually I’ll know where to go. All through the day (and night) if I get an idea for anything from a piece of dialogue to a detail that has to change, I write it on a scrap of paper and those scraps end up on my desk to be attended to (expanded or remembered) in word docs of notes and lists. Research is very important and at times might be more than 50% of writing time. So I have two monitors with the internet on one and my word doc on the other. Research is everything from idioms and popular culture of a certain time period to how the legal system works for particular offenses or when a baby might be starting to talk or walk (since I don’t have children).

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

My selected stories were just published, so these pieces are from some of the far-flung corners of my career, all with different origins.  If there’s something in common, it’s how, for some people, the past continues to gnaw at and disturb the present, and maybe this seemingly simple sentence is at root behind everything I’ve ever felt compelled to write.

What are you working on now?

My current novel concerns a man who tried to escape the disappointment of not spending life with the person he loves, so he creates a substitute life just so he won’t be alone, and that relationship verges on abusive (with the man not the abuser).

What was the last great thing you read by another author?

Probably an Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, or Alice Munroe.

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which writer, dead or alive, do you invite?

See above! Plus at least one who can cook.

Feb 152018
 

The last great thing I’ve read is a book of short stories by a surrealist artist, Leonora Carrington. They are creepy, imagistic and full of death.”

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

There are too many things to mention! Each poem comes from a different place.

What are you working on now?

I have a chapbook with illustrations by Angel Perez coming out this year. I’ll be raising money in April writing a poem every day and emailing them to sponsors. I haven’t decided on a charity yet. I’m also thinking about another full-length collection while my second manuscript is finding a home. It’s a busy year!

What was the last great thing you read by another author?

The last great thing I’ve read is a book of short stories by a surrealist artist, Leonora Carrington. They are creepy, imagistic and full of death. The last great authors I’ve heard read were Kaveh Akbar and Tarfia Faizullah at the Poetry Pop Up from the Poetry Foundation. Amazing Muslim activist poets. 

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which writer, dead or alive, do you invite?

I think I’d invite Denise Levertov. I’ve been researching her poetry for years and am making plans to visit her personal collection of papers at Stanford, but talking to her would be so much better!

Feb 142018
 

Dead people, even dead writers, tend not to hold up their end of the conversation…”

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

I’ve always been fascinated how closely aligned a writer is to an actor, in that they both need to get inside the heads of the characters they are creating either on paper or on stage. So, I humbly thought, why not imagine what some of the most extraordinary people in history were thinking at seminal moments in their lives? I tried to choose people who dedicated themselves to physical creations or ideational constructs that fundamentally changed the way we normal folks experience the world after coming into contact with their work, be it psychological, celestial, cinematic, literary, martial, mathematical, etc. An impossible endeavor, so fun to try.

What are you working on now?

I’m still adding poetic biographies to the chapbook “Simulacra,” although I have sent it out to a couple publishers already. I plan to return to revising and amending my book-length collection of fiction, ranging from realistic fictions to hybrids, from short stories to nano fictions, called In the Contemporary Mode.

What was the last great thing you read by another author?

I’ve recently read some wonderfully entertaining comic (mostly dark) contemporary fiction writers. Some favorites: Matthew Klam’s Who is Rich?; James McBride’s collection, Five-Carat Soul; Joshua Ferris’s The Dinner Party, whose titular story kills; Chanelle Benz’s stories, The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead, ditto; and Miranda July’s shorts, No One Belongs Here More than You. Can’t resist also pushing John Hodgman’s hilarious essays, Vacationland.

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which writer, dead or alive, do you invite?

Dead people, even dead writers, tend not to hold up their end of the conversation, so among the living, I’d like to hear from authors who generally don’t say much in public and whose work instructs and inspires me. Like Cormac McCarthy, whose Blood Meridian ranks in my mind with the best of Faulkner and Morrison. Or St. Charles writer Patrick Parks, whose beautifully written novel, Tucumcari, soon to be published nationally, taught me that taking chances on voice and story, if believed in, can result in a rare, unique, literary tome in miniature. Hey, wait, I have invited Pat to dinner! Maybe I should call Cormac to see what he’s doing next Saturday.

Feb 052018
 

On Sunday, February 18 at 7 pm,  Waterline Writers will feature authors Rick Holinger, Kristin LaTour and Cris Mazza, as well as the teen winners of Teen Writers and Artist Project’s recent Slammin’ The Sun Down poetry competition: Nequa Valley High School’s Noah Espinoza, Malak (MJ) Jellouli, David Mullons, Sereen Omer, Alyssa Pazanin and West Aurora High School’s Sydney Williams.

Through the magic of poetry, Rick Holinger glimpses Steve Jobs falling for his mother’s princess phone, dips a toe into dangerous waters with Herman Melville as he decides on the color of his whale, and takes Emily Dickinson where she really wanted to go.

Then, as Kristin LaTour reads When Billy Collins Falls For Me, The Years My Heart Was An Aquarium and Lot’s Young Wife, you’ll agree – no one comes up with love poems as unique as hers!

Cris Mazza, whose work addresses sexual politics and identity, victimhood and personal accountability in frank and sometimes disturbing ways, will read from Charlatan, which Kirkus Review calls “an impressive compendium of an important career” that includes a PEN/Nelson Algren Award for How To Leave a Country.

Round out the evening with 3-minute slam poems from the teen poetry competition and this event promises to be very memorable indeed!

Admission is $5/$3 students. You’ll have the opportunity to purchase signed copies of authors’ books, beer from Solemn Oath Brewery, wine from Bright Angel Wines, a hand-tooled pen from Wooden Writers or a hand-constructed book from Tieri Ton. We also offer food from The Market at Gaetano’s and desserts from Limestone Coffee & Tea!

Everyone is welcome! Writers may bring a 5-minute piece to share at our 8:30 Open Mic or visit WaterlineWriters.org and follow the Submission Guidelines to be considered as a future featured writer. Note our special call for submissions, Let The Blues Be Your Muse, for a May 20th blues-themed reading!

Waterline Writers, 3rd Sundays at 7 pm, September to May, in the newly accessible art gallery at Water Street Studios160 S. Water Street, Batavia IL.

Contact Anne Veague or Kevin Moriarity at waterlinewriters@gmail.com or find us on Facebook or Twitter.