- What’s the hardest thing about writing?
I think one of the hardest things about writing is gathering the courage to tell a story the way I see it. When you’ve been doing this for a while, it’s easy to be influenced by the perceived expectations of the publishing industry, culture, or the demands of your audience. There’s a certain amount of courage it takes to put all that aside and tell the story you hear in your mind and heart.
- What are you doing when you’re not writing?
Wow! That’s a loaded question. Lol. I’ll keep it simple. When I’m not writing, I’m mothering my daughter, teaching my students (I’m a professor of English), and otherwise living my rather ordinary life.
- Describe your thoughts on writing (either your own or in general) in 5 words or less.
Tell the truth. Always.
- What is it about your discipline (fiction/poverty/nonfiction/other) that draws you to it?
I write in multiple disciplines (fiction/nonfiction/poetry/screen and stage). I think the thread that connects them all to me is this very basic concept of truth-telling through story. Whether I’m writing an article about the intersection of race and class, a chapter in my novel, or a poem, I’m drawn to the idea that I can use story to convey the many truths that exist in our world. Not so much in a way that screams “MESSAGE!” but with grace; in a way that will resonate with a reader. That’s fascinating, no matter the mechanism.
- Have you ever done something unusual for the sake of your writing? What was it and how did it work out?
I don’t know if what I’ve done would be considered unusual or not. I’ve quit jobs to work on projects; I’ve holed up in hotel rooms for a few days trying to bang out a few chapters of a book under deadline; and I’ve researched things on my computer that would be incriminating without context. But that’s all normal, right?
And a bonus question submitted by Anthony Moll at our last reading:
Would you rather have sausages for fingers or have your name be “Do you smell that”?
The elders where I grew up in Kentucky would often say, “It’s not what they call you, but what you answer to.” So in light of that wisdom, I’d choose to be named “Do you smell that?” Plus, I love sausage waaaay too much.