If you could cook dinner for any author, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you make?
Sylvia Plath, and although I’m vegetarian the starter would certainly be caviar. The Bell Jar was the first book where I realized there were others like me, who felt how I did and were grappling so hard to dig their nails into this world. There’s something in her description of spooning an entire table’s worth of caviar into her mouth while feeling so dislocated in New York that’s always resonated with me.
What scares you the most about the writing process? How do you combat your fears?
Writing has never scared me--oftentimes it’s been my only salvation. I can express myself in writing in ways I’ve never managed with my voice. Words get stuck in my throat. Thankfully, they flow freely through my fingertips. I supposed the only fear is the tendency to come up with the best lines when I’m far from having the ability to write them down.
Who is your biggest literary crush, author or character?
It’s still Sylvia Plath. However, Li-Young Lee is a close second.
What books are on your nightstand?
At the moment it’s Helter Skelter, but it’s a beast of a book and will certainly take some time to dig through. I grew up on campy horror movies, and although my literary tastes don’t travel in that direction, this book has been on my TBR list for years.
Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?
They come from everywhere and I rarely see them coming. Of course the big moments in life are to be expected. My husband always asks me why I only write sad things, but I don’t see it that way. I have no need to digest and process the happy moments in my life. It’s the hard things that need to be taken apart and put back together in my own way. However, he is the inspiration for much of my writing, and so were my parents, my sister, and the Oregon wild.
Favorite punctuation mark? Why?
The em-dash. I love the em-dash. It’s so much punchier than any of the others and a favorite for line breaks. My least favorite is the semi-colon. Who uses that? Although I despise the exclamation mark, too (unless it’s used in dialogue). If you need an exclamation mark, your words aren’t strong enough.
What book were you supposed to read in high school, but never did?
I left high school at 15 years old when I was (for lack of a better term) kicked out of my house, so there are probably quite a few. I never did read any of the staples like Catcher in the Rye until it was of my own accord in my twenties.
What inanimate object would you thank in your acknowledgements?
My computer. It’s not a very romantic answer, but I go through one every six months. My handwriting has gone to hell, so none of my books would have happened without it.
Why do you write? The first 5 words that come to mind. Go.
I have no other choice.
If you could write an inspirational quote on the mirrors of aspiring writers, what would you write?
So, I actually have two inspirational poems written in permanent marker on my bathroom mirror. One is Kim Addonizio’s “What Do Women Want” and the other is Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman.” Both are a reminder of just how amazing we are as women and should be read daily. (Sorry, men and non-binary folks, I’m sure you have some kickass quotes/poems, too!)