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Five Questions with Elise Chidley


Elise-Chidley

1.) When did you know you wanted to be a writer? I wrote (and stitched together) my first 'book' when I was about eight. It was a story about a pride of lions. My dad found it and asked, 'Who made this? It's quite good!.' I've been writing stories ever since. 2.) What do you love most about the writing process? I love those moments when you write as if you're taking dictation from some higher power--when the words flow effortlessly and time simply disappears; when


you look up from your laptop to find that the sun is setting and it's time to turn on the lights. This is called being in the zone, and it doesn't always happen--but the thought that it could is (partly) what keeps me coming back to the blank screen. I also love revising. I love seeing the patterns and closing the loops, cutting the fat and deadheading the daisies. Most of all, I love burnishing the bits that need to shine.

3.) What do you love most about teaching writing?

I love the fact that a new pair of eyes on somebody's work can help a writer see their own work anew, with refreshed passion and purpose. I love that I can help a writer elevate their work by sharing what I've learned myself after many years of effort and experience. I also love the creative energy in a room full of writers.

4.) What are you reading right now?

I'm reading The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller--a luminous story of second chances and dysfunctional family.

5.) What's your favorite writing quote? May I have two? "You are working in clay, not marble, on paper, not eternal bronze; let that first sentence be as stupid as it wishes." Jacques Barzun, 1971 and

"Tell all the Truth but tell it slant." Emily Dickinson, Poem Number 1129 (1872)


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