I was invited to participate in this Blog Roll by Katie Burdis, Editor-in-Chief of Glassworks Magazine, published by Rowan University where Katie teaches in the Writing Arts Department. Please see below for a Bio on Katie and a link to visit her site.
Here are the questions for the Blog Roll. I hope you enjoy a little peek into my insanity as a multi-genre writer.
1) What am I working on/writing?
I recently finished a full-length poetry collection called, The Miracle of Mercury. This collection grew from some of the darker images in Threads (Finishing Line Press) and brought in some new character studies that I had wanted to write about for a while. While it is a bit darker than Threads, it pulls a little further away from the strict autobiographical nature of the original poems and looks more outward than inward to the influences that formed many of the perspectives in the smaller collection.
I also have decided to go back into my original roots of writing fiction. Most people know me as a poet, but what many do not know is that I really began writing in the science fiction/dystopian genre. I have spent most of this summer expanding and completing a project I began about two years ago. This is a dystopian novel that tries to shed some light on how resilient we are as humans, even in the face of adverse governmental mind control. Although it is in the dystopian genre it is very much a character driven novel with some potential for development into a series. I like the idea of a trilogy that goes beyond the initial set of circumstances and as a writer the idea of following these characters through to the ultimate end of their journey is very exciting. I find as a reader I always walk away from books wondering where they go from there and developing a series is very satisfying to me, not only as a writer, but as a reader as well. I get so attached to my characters and really don’t want to let them go so easily, so a trilogy gives me the opportunity to selfishly keep those characters with me.
2) How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
Since I have worked in poetry, fiction and nonfiction I admittedly borrow craft technique from all three and mesh them together in whichever medium I am working. I don’t know if this exactly breaks the rules, but I find it hard to separate the craft techniques across the genres. I try everything to bring all the subtext to the surface and I think it gives me a different voice. I can be realistic with my characters from techniques in nonfiction, can reach for the farthest limits in story development from fiction, and when I need to bring the language to something softer, I can borrow from the poetic language. I like to tell stories, whether I am working in poetry, nonfiction or fiction, and I use every technique I can from any source to do the characters justice.
3) Why do I write/work what I do?
I really like being able to move through poetry, fiction and nonfiction. It gives me a range of possibilities for the story I want to tell. I have always been fascinated with human nature and why people do the things they do. I am most fascinated with motivation and the influence the world around them has on particular personalities. And, yes, I am really drawn by the darker side of our nature. But I am mostly drawn to the aftermath of the thing that happens next. For instance, if there are certain childhood influences why do some people grow up being cruel while that same influence creates kindness and empathy in another.
I like to explore these questions through character or persona. Even when I am writing autobiographical poetry, the narrator is the voice of the person I see myself as at the time: a young girl trying to reconcile her confusions as a young girl, a young wife confused by where she finds herself, a woman looking back at some instance of cruelty. These are the voices and the perspectives that they speak from and become characters that make some sort of sense of it all.
4) How does my writing/working process work?
My process is very different depending on the genre I work in. When I am writing poetry or nonfiction I get very serious and lock myself into a room and work in relative quiet. Sometimes I will play music but usually only if I am trying to channel something specific like trying to force a sense memory for the imagery.
When I am writing fiction I am kind of a maniac: its all energy, loud music, insomnia and a 24/7 obsession. Once I hit a trajectory it demands all of my concentration and everything else becomes secondary to the writing. This summer I have been waking up at 4AM and writing all day sometimes into night. I take breaks but pretty much am putting in twelve-hour days on the writing, with loud, driving music blasting in my head the whole time. The music helps to feed the energy, which feeds the writing. I have to say that I love this type of submersion in my work. I enjoy this writing process a lot. It becomes a kind of physical process that gets me in tune with my characters. The energy loops from me and into the writing and back again.
Now a little more about Katie Burdis:
Born and raised in the Chicagoland area, Katie Budris completed her undergraduate work at Hope College in Holland, Michigan and earned her MFA at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Her poems have appeared in journals such as The Albion Review, After Hours Press, From the Depths (Haunted Waters Press), The Kelsey Review, Michigan Avenue Review, Outside In Magazine, Yellow Medicine Review, and the anthology Crossing Lines (Main Rag Press). Her first chapbook, Prague in Synthetics, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. The focused collection is centered on her experience studying abroad as part of Western Michigan University's Prague Summer Program. Katie lives in Philadelphia where she is a professor of Writing Arts at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey and at Community College of Philadelphia and also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Glassworks Magazine. In addition to writing, Katie dances professional with The Lady Hoofers Tap Ensemble, for which she also choreographs and serves as assistant director. When she isn't writing, grading, or dancing, she's spending time with her English Mastiff, Harper.
Read some of her work and learn more about her at: www.katiebudris.com/blog