In a few sentences, who are you?
Author of The Book of Dahlia, How This Night is Different, and the soon to be published After Birth. Only as good as whatever I’m working on.
Describe one moment, event, person, relationship or other thing that put you on the path to becoming a writer, or told you that this was going to be your career.
High school English teacher Mr. Bellon, college profs poet Mary Campbell and novelists Stephen McCauley and Jayne Anne Phillips. Grad school mentors Binnie Kirshenbaum and David Gates. All these people looked me in the eye and said some version of “You are for real. Keep writing.” And so I kept writing, with that precious sense of being artistically “parented”. I needed that. Their belief in me allowed me to indulge the possibility that I might consider believing in myself.
What’s essential for your work routine, ie. early morning start, some type of music, clean teeth, a looming deadline?
If only there were foolproof conditions. Sometimes I need to stretch and breathe, sometimes I need to walk, sometimes I need to run. Sometimes I need music loud, sometimes I need it soft. Sometimes I need silence. Sometimes I need a nap. Sometimes I need to read something I love. Sometimes I need food or a drink. Sometimes I need a break. Sometimes I need to push myself harder. Sometimes I need to go away for a few days. Sometimes I need to fart around on social media.
After casting a glance at our program, who’s another speaker you’re excited to see at Out of the Binders and why?
I’m looking forward to hearing what my fellow panelists have to say; all are writers I admire. I’m excited to soak up the energy in general; it’s an interesting movement and moment.
Why do you think this Out of the Binders conference needs to exist?
If we don’t take each other seriously and read each other’s work in earnest, how can we possibly complain about our fate/status in the larger literary community? It’s incumbent upon us to simply have the conversations we want had, write what we want read, celebrate the work we want celebrated, raise our voices about what matters and why.
What’s one link, aka URL, you’d give to someone who wants to read or find out more about your work?
My friend, the artist Orli Auslander, did the drawings for my site. I love her sensibility. She’s working on a graphic memoir. I can’t wait to read it.
Let’s get people to connect with you: what’s your Twitter handle/Facebook page/website?
Instagram is my favorite social media. My breathing gets really shallow when I’m on twitter for any length of time.
I just read Anya Ulinich’s LENA FINKLE’S MAGIC BARREL in two days and didn’t want it to end.
Everything Jeanette Winterson says about writing/writers strikes me as dead right. Her essay collection ART OBJECTS is a gift.