Because I’m all anonymous and shit, I can’t tell you how I know Georgia Clark, but suffice it to say that when I heard her read the first chapter from Parched, the whole room was itchy and impatient to get their hands on the book, which wasn’t going to be out for a couple years. You, my friends, do not have to wait that long. She has invited me to do a blog tour (or she’s doing a blog tour, I dunno something about chain letters and my mom and terrible consequences, but since I don’t have to worry about that anymore, I’ve thrown caution to the wind) about the writing process.
What are you working on?
I’m writing a memoir. I hate saying that because memoirists are seen as self-obsessed. But have you met a writer? They’re/we’re all just clawing at our lives and experiences so hard just to get something to write about that I understand how we might come across as self-centered. I’ve been writing this blog just slightly longer than I’ve been writing the memoir, and it’s given me the strength to realize that, as a poet, I can write to the right edge of the page.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I’m anonymous, mate, what’s with all these questions? [Georgia is from Australia so I can use fancy Commonwealth terminology when responding to her questions.] The memoir (or as we call it around here, the fucker) is not just a memoir about losing my father. It’s also about understanding science as a nonscientist. I had lost sight of the bigger question, but it’s back. Thank god. I hated the previous version. (Whoa, that’s a lot more frank about my book than I usually am in these here anonymous parts.) So it’s not about grief, it’s not about childhood, it’s not about science, it’s about all of these things.
Why do you write what you do?
I would like to be a science writer and write arty slim volumes about [subject redacted] but I don’t understand this shit, I can’t focus long enough to get real research done, and I can’t write about it when I do, by some miracle, understand something. So I bounce around and include a bit of everything. I justify it by reading a bunch of Nick Flynn and calling myself a poet.
Short answer: because I can’t write about anything else.
How does your writing process work?
Guilt and procrastination sprinkled with a liberal lack of planning. I am a freelance copyeditor, so the only way I can justify blowing off an afternoon of work is to write. Or, if I’m not writing, I get whiny and bored with life. About the time my partner threatens to kill me, I decide to go write. Beats divorce, which is expensive and sad, or so I’m told. I should probably wash dishes/dust/weed my garden but I don’t want to. So I write. There was a long stretch in my life where the only thing that was going well was the writing. I try to honor the writing because of that. And because I love it. And because my life is infinitely less interesting without it.
I get Freedom (aka the best $10 I’ve ever spent, also introduced to me by the very same Georgia Clark), kick myself offline, and try to write as often as I think I can get away with it. I am not a person who plans ahead. I grab the time and I go. I don’t know what I’m writing about until I do it. I struggle with planning and I hate it. So I just write and revise, write and revise. This sounds messy, and it is. But I rely on ambition, drive, melodrama, and the ribbing of my writing friends to get through. And so far it is all keeping me afloat.
Now, my friends, I am passing this writing-process blog-tour baton to Sarah W., the killer of my work ethic (hurry up and finish your novel, I’m running out of shit to read); Lyra, author of the best novel you haven’t read yet but will; and Averil, whose book was so beautiful and scary I couldn’t put it down. Your turn.