Thanks to Bridgett Davis for putting me on the Blog Tour! Read her blog at boldaslove.us. I’m thrilled about her next book, INTO THE GO-SLOW, published by The Feminist Press in September! Here’s her entry :
Each writer answers 4 questions and then passes the torch to two other writers. Here’s my contribution:
1) What are you working on?
Right now I’m in the process of working on myself! I’ve spent many years working on my latest novel, Willow, and so now I am in a state of re-generation. I’m doing a health detox and trying to focus on creating space in my body and mind for new work to take root. My responsibilities as a professor also force me to commit to another mode of thinking, especially when I’m editing syllabi and student work for the school’s online literary journal.
2) How does your work differ from others’ work in the same genre?
I have a hard time answering that! Everyone’s vision is different in intangible ways. I think I like to experiment with language and blending voices and styles. I will sometimes get bored with the straightforward way of telling the story. I think every story is its own master, so it’s up to me to learn and interpret its magic. I love Jean Toomer’s Cane for that—he knew how to tell a story by letting the story tell itself in any form—poetry, prose or play. I am fascinated with authors that don’t adhere to rules of what a novel or poem or whatever is supposed to be. My goal is to experiment as much as possible, to break out of my own pre-conceived notions of storytelling.
3) Why do you write what you do?
I have always wanted to write the books I wanted to read as a kid. I felt like my world was not reflected in anyone else’s reality, much less their fantasy. I grew up wanting to live in the woods, singing like a sparrow. Being a writer is as close as I get. I like to enhance the internal world of my readers so that they can change the external world by what they have learned.
4) How does your writing process work?
I’ll hopefully be able to devote some creative time in July to work on a series of short stories I started years ago. Part of that process involves saturating myself with images that I want to inhabit my imagination during the writing process. I’m in the process of working on something of a Western, so I’ve been watching Mae West movies—that woman was a steamroller! She wrote, directed and often starred in her own plays and movies. She completely owned her world and was never ashamed of taking risks. I’m also reading a lot of Kristen Hunter, who may be one of the few African-American women writers who takes on writing as a white man. Her book, The Landlord was made into a great movie with Beau Bridges. I also keep a journal of ideas and snippits of the world I’m creating. These short stories are not in the YA/children’s book genre. I’m taking some calculated risks and writing adult literary fiction that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’ve shared the beginnings with other writers and although that can sometimes stunt your work (because you get caught up in what other people think), but if those people are a part of what you see as your “market” you should always take the chance to at least read the work aloud and get feedback. The most important task for a writer in workshop is learning which feedback is valuable for her goals and leaving the rest by the wayside.
Next week check out playwrite, professor and producer Nina Mercer’s blog, Windows, Doors, Closets, and Drawers
Along with her musings, she posts updates about current productions, projects, and collaborations here.
Poet, VIDA editor and professor, Rosebud Ben-Oni will also contribute her thoughts on writing. Find out about Ben-Oni’s first book, SOLICISM through her website, http://rosebudbenoni.com/news/
or check her on Twitter: @rosebudbenoni