“One night, I convinced myself to forget about the future and just concentrate on what was right in front of me, which happened to be laundry steam from a dryer…” Read on:
How did you discover that you were a writer?
I was a reader before I was a writer. As a kid, I could spend all day reading books. Our house was filled with them and my parents were big readers as well.
My switch to writing poetry came on very suddenly after a personal crisis. The stress dealing with the crisis was overwhelming. One night, I convinced myself to forget about the future and just concentrate on what was right in front of me, which happened to be laundry steam from a dryer on a misty evening. Some thoughts came to me, I wrote them down and then I had a poem. I wrote a few more and realized the best way through the fear was contemplating various metaphors and crafting them into something tangible. The crisis receded but I still continued writing.
Something I only recently realized was how my years as an actor honed my ear for dialogue and rhythm. I had an acting teacher that used classical poetry to teach voice and diction. So it wasn’t just reading the words but speaking them over and over in such a way that it really felt as though you were eating them.
Describe your writing process.
I’m trying to get on a writing schedule but find that difficult. I journal constantly and will sometimes get poems out of that. Being in nature is also a wonderful source for material but the most consistent way I create poems is through WordPlay – the writing workshop hosted by Teen Writers and Artists Project. They have been too kind to reject me for not being a teen. I usually get a poem started there and then refine it at home. I write long hand in journals and then edit when I enter the poems in the computer. I stockpile so many blank journals, my kid has forbidden me from buying more. I ignore her.
What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?
I’m reading a few poems that I have created through TWAAP’s WordPlay. I’m on their board now and really want to advocate for them but am a fairly lousy salesperson. The best thing I can do is show why they are such a vital organization. The political rhetoric in the news and social media has ramped a bit and there is a certain amount of fear in the atmosphere. Teens are living with an additional amount anxiety since Nov 9 on top of the anxiety that comes with just being a teen. Actually, the increased anxiety isn’t limited to teens these days. Fear contracts your world, creativity expands it. I have found the act of creating to help convert fear into hope. TWAAP creates a space for teens to tell their stories, be validated for those stories, and connect with others through the power of language. How marvelous is that?
What are you working on now?
My house, my job, my daughter’s homework. Everything it seems but my writing. A condition that no one in this room has ever experienced.