I was Blog Tour Tagged by the incomparable Tonya Canada:
Tonya Canada (@tonyacanada) found me wandering around the Reed College cafeteria at Tin House this July, late to the party and totally lost. She is one of the funniest, brightest literary flashbulbs I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and definitely my first team pick if I ever have to survive a sharknado (or another similar workshop).
Meet Tonya here: www.tonyacanada.com
On with my belated responses!
What are you working on?
I’ve spent the last couple of months going through the 12 Steps of Mourning a Manuscript That Didn’t Sell, trying to figure out what I want to do with my work, my self. Coupled with the fact that my life went off the rails this summer, and I’ve been wholly off-track with my writing and feeling, quite frankly, very lost and depressed. Fortunately, every once in a while those reflections and inner sorts fester into a breakthrough, and between changing lanes in my car the answer appeared—restructure the book as an almost entirely new memoir with a fresh through-line and structure, framed around the tectonic plate shifts that have defined my 20th and 30th birthdays: A girl searches for love, a woman finds a home.
I’m starting this new project along with a couple of new standalone essays on quitting my “dream” job and abandoning Tucson. I’m throwing queries out into the universe until something boomerangs back. With the new submission period open, I’m hitting the streets hard with my favorite piece of writing that still needs a forever home. It’s busy. I’m driving myself up a wall. It’s beautiful.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I would say my voice. I want you to know it’s me, because I work hard to be me. I’m all I’ve got with this.
Why do you write what you do?
It’s all I know how to do. I’ve never been able to make up authentic fiction stories (and don’t ask me about poems. Can you feel the death stare through your monitor?). I’ve always been drawn to the columnist-style personal essay/universal truth hybrid, and fell in love long ago with the likes of Susan Orlean, Cheryl Strayed and David Sedaris. I remember reading early blogs like Defamer, Jacob Clifton’s Television Without Pity reviews and the alt-weekly columnists in Portland, wondering how come they get to do this? Why can’t I?
How does your writing process work?
I try to think of a good first or last line. If I can get either one in my head, I’m usually good to go. If I can dream up both, it’s one of those super-rare moments that my bitch-whore muse is grinning, and life is about to get sweet.
After I draft, I consult with the best writing group the world has ever known, criss-crossing the country with Sharon Harrigan and Stephanie Bane. They never steer me wrong on any little thing. Meeting them was absolutely worth the MFA tuition.
Now, I think you should stalk these people:
Drew Attana. drewattana.com @drewattana Freshly moved ‘cross the country, (The Future) Dr. Drew is Portland’s greatest loss this year (and this is the year my favorite coffee shop closed). Well played, Louisiana. Well played.
Sian Griffiths. siangriffiths.blogspot.com@borrowedhorses Sian may be the most lovely person with a brilliant smile you’ll meet at a writer’s residency, but dare to challenge her trivia prowess and she will SHANK you. Add her debut novel “Borrowed Horses” to your fall reading list.
Elizabeth Enslin. elizabethenslin.com @lizenslin Elizabeth’s writing effuses with a clever voice, a savage heart and an adventurous spirit. I can’t wait to read her upcoming memoir “While The Gods Were Sleeping” and neither can you.