Describe your writing process.
I sit down in the chair and something happens. I usually don’t have ideas that I outline or work through in my head. Characters take shape in the writing. And revising. Like Ferlinghetti says, I’m “constantly risking absurdity.” And why not? Most of what I write will face the delete key, but some won’t. I love the burst of creation. Poems & flash fiction happen fast for me—but that is only the beginning. I love revision, even when it drives me nuts. Ideally, I’d like to write everyday, but life can intervene. It’s important to keep at it and not let discouraging voices get too loud.
If you were a snack food, which one would you be and why?
A potato chip. Because I devour them.
What is one of the earliest pieces you read that hit you between the eyes?
I wasn’t much of a reader until high school when I had a teacher, Mr. Radtke, who made me think that books were invaluable, not because an English teacher says so, but because they can shed light that we need in this dark world. The Stranger by Camus had and continues to have a big influence on me. I didn’t read much poetry until college though I started writing song lyrics (and I can’t sing or read music) at 15: I was going to be the next Tommy James and the Shondells. In our basement.
Tell us one thing that is in your writing space that we would be surprised to find there.
Pictures of 4 owls I “adopted” at the Northwoods Wildlife Center in Minoqua, Wisconsin: Rhea, Willow, Fritz, and Cosmo. They'd be surpised to see their faces looking over me as I write.
Choose three individual words that would serve as advice to beginning writers.
Contemplate. Observe. Courage.
Tell us about a celebrity crush. Justification optional.
I’m aware of few celebrities since the 1960s or so. Derek Jeter used to be quite cute. I prefer people not to look done up. Sometimes I look done in.
Tell us one thing about you that wouldn't appear in the standard 50 word literary journal biographical note.
I have a list of my 2400 favorite songs, in order. The top one is “12:30” by the Mamas & the Papas. The last one is “Better Move It On Home” by Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton. LS