I've been meaning to write, really I have. It's just that every time I sit in front of this blank new post screen, I start feeling inadequate and close the window. It's the same when I sit down to work on my story. At some point since the beginning of the year, something shut off my creativity valve. It'd be too easy to just blame this on my rejections from four MFA programs. I'm afraid it's something more.
I don't feel like a writer these days. That feeling is justified because I don't actually write much anymore. I was sitting here trying to figure out how to restart my writing practice and decided I'd start with a much-delayed response to an interview meme posted by my friend, Precious, several months ago.
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better! If I already know you well, expect the questions may be a little more intimate!
3. Update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
Here are my responses to Precious’ questions
1. What got you into writing in the first place? Why do you continue to do it? What are your motivations?
In fifth grade, I had to write a story about slavery from a first-person POV. I wrote a story about escaping from a plantation and following the Underground Railroad to freedom. Even in that story, someone died. I kept finding reasons to write as my schooling progressed. I always enjoyed the assignments, but I never seriously considered being a writer. To be honest, I didn’t think I could pull it off until I was in college.
I continue to write because it is something I enjoy greatly. There are days when I write a lot, and days when I write nothing. Unfortunately, the days where I write nothing seem to outweigh my creative days. I’m trying to tap into my creativity.
Ultimately, I would like to publish at least one novel, preferably more. Maybe a book or two of poetry, and some nonfiction. I like it all and would like to share it all. My lack of focus for one genre might be looked down upon by some, but I think selecting just one form of writing is far too binding. There’s room enough for all.
2. It occurs to me that I know almost nothing about your taste in music. So, top ten songs of all time, and a brief explanation as to why each is on the list.In no particular order:
"Moon River" (Henry Mancini) – I love movie soundtracks, especially soundscores. Mancini is one of the greatest movie music composers ever, and I cannot imagine Breakfast at Tiffany’s without this song. It’s by far one of my favorites.
"Jupiter, Bringer of Jollity" (Gustav Holst) – I don’t remember where I first found Holst’s The Planets, but it is great. “Jupiter” is probably the best summation of The Planets scope, but each movement is wonderful. Ethan Canin says it best: “The Planets is everything the great movie composers of the later part of this century would strive for, the grand wave of sound that sweeps us on…it is music that thrills the emotions, every single one of them.”
"Both Sides Now" (Joni Mitchell) – My first introduction to Mitchell was “Big Yellow Taxi,” which has been covered by several artists. It was listening to Mitchell’s 2000 recording of “Both Sides Now” that got me interested in her work. This was her second recording of the song, the first being from the 1960s. I haven’t heard the earlier version, but I think the age of her voice is what drives this song home for me. I’m not sure I’d like the other one as well.
Holiday in Spain (Counting Crows) – Hard Candy is the perfect summer driving album. I listened to this almost constantly a few summers ago, and “Holiday in Spain” was the track I kept revisiting. I’m a fan of the Counting Crows, especially live, so I had to put one of their songs in this list.
"Green and Gray" (Nickel Creek) – I connect with this song. It's hard to explain it any other way. I can't seem to describe what draws me to the song.
"Blackbird" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – "Blackbird" is about overcoming the things that hold you back. I lived in a rather deep depression for several years, and I found this song while still learning that I could take control of my life and determine how I perceive it. I didn't overcome depression because the sadness stopped but because I figured out how to rise above it. "Blackbird" is still very dear to me because of that.
"Make Them Hear You" (from Ragtime) – "Teach every child to raise his voice, and then my brothers, then, will justice be demanded by ten million righteous men." That sums it up, and those lyrics give me goosebumps every time I hear the song.
"Omnia Sol (Let Your Heart Be Staid) (Z. Randall Stroope) – The final scene of my potential novel "Fractured" plays out every time I hear this song. It's a choral piece that Tower Choir performed Fall 2006, and hearing it live is a zen-like experience.
"Me and Bobby McGee" Janis Joplin - I don't really have a good reason to list this song. It's one of the songs I downloaded because I heard part of it on "Scrubs." The version I downloaded is very quiet, but I always listen to it at least twice when it comes on. That has to mean something.
3. What is the biggest problem in the world today? There are many problems, yes, but which one is the biggest or most underlying of them all?
The biggest problem in the world? I'm not sure I have enough knowledge regarding any one problems to not end up sounding like another idiot on the internet, so I'm not going to try solving it. If forced to name one problem, I'd have to go with the extreme polarization of wealth in the world. The uber rich and the deathly poor. Something's messed up there.
4. Biggest pet peeve? (Not including people asking you what your biggest pet peeve is.)
Rude customers. I think Lynne Truss was onto something when she wrote Talk to the Hand. I need to pick up a copy.
5. This one is highly philosophical and potentially too convoluted to be fair, but I am honestly curious as to how you'll answer: Do you think morality is largely relative or largely universal? Why?
I believe morality is largely relative. I believe I could explain my specific viewpoint with some degree of clarity if I were not so tired. In the interest of saving you from a garbled answer, I will save the why for another time.