1) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Around the time I learned to read. My father and I were reading the Little House books together. My father often made up stories for me before bedtime or on long car trips, and he is a great tall-tale teller, so I think for that reason I always thought in story, even before I realized one could be something called a “writer.” Once we read the Little House books together and my father explained that the little girl in the story grew up to write the books we were reading I knew what I wanted to be. It took slightly longer to realize I wanted to be a poet, but I was already writing poems by the time I was 9. I attribute that to my mother’s interest in folk music, which is so lyrically rich.
2) What do you love most about the writing process?
I love how simple ritual and initially tentative beginning can give way to the pleasure and power of flow, to an ability to find clarity and perspective about the human experience, about your own human experience, as you are simultaneously creating something beautiful, and then to realize that through some sort of magic, what felt internal and idiosyncratic somehow speaks in powerful ways to others.
3) What do you love most about teaching writing?
I love when I can help writers discover the power and beauty in their own voice and words where they previously doubted these gifts.
4) What are you reading right now?
Hilary Mantel’s memoir Giving Up the Ghost.
5) What’s your favorite writing quote?
From poet/artists Matthea Harvey: “When I’m writing, part of me is frolicking in the sea foam (imagination) and part of me is hunting the monsters in the deep (emotions).”