Why did you pursue writing?
I didn’t pursue it, it pursued me. And honestly, I never actually had a choice in the matter. I had this full-blown artistic crisis when I was 23 years old and “saw” this novel I was supposed to write. Was pretty bizarre—almost like something out of my own book! I sobbed my brains out because it seemed like I was setting a course for an extremely difficult life. It felt like a curse. I did make a half-hearted attempt to start writing it, but it was way beyond me. I at least had the sense to realize I was way too young and dumb to pull it off. I decided to just become a painter for a while. It seemed easier. Plus, I like writers who started as painters. I had to live through a lot of difficult and strange things before writing could finally start coming to my rescue. And come to my rescue it has!
I finally started writing this book when I was 35. Took ten years. (The subsequent ones were a lot faster.) Virginia Woolf said that writing is the cure for the reading sickness. I’m not sure if that’s true because I still have a pretty bad case of Reading Too Much. But it did cure me of a much worse problem: self-loathing. Writing, I guess, was an irresistible force in my life that led me back to who I really am—a sane person.
What inspired your book?
Many things, actually. But the over-arching inspiration was that I always felt stifled, disregarded and invisible. Hindsight being 20/20, it’s clear to me now that by writing a book about a young woman who finds her voice, I was navigating my own way out of voice-less-ness. At the time, I could not see that, of course. And it’s a good thing! It simply struck me as an exciting thing to do for some reason that I could not explain. If I had realized then, what a huge psychological mountain I was setting myself up to climb, I would’ve run screaming. Anybody would. It’s pretty terrifying.
But it’s good. It turns out all the dangerous and difficult situations I put myself in over the years, actually had a reason. I’m not sure if I believe in reincarnation or not, but for lack of a better way of saying it, I feel writing this body of work was the reason I came into this life—to bring it all together. Resolution. Because if I never found the courage to trust myself enough to jump in and do it, to grope about in the dark, trying to figure out what it was I was trying to say, then my checkered past would be nothing but a checkered past and my present would be nothing but misery, addiction and wallowing, full time, in despair.
Silence, it seems, really does equal Death.
How long have you been publishing your work?
Not that long. I got the eBooks up this spring. They are my Phase One, where I collect nice blurbs for the back covers of the coming print editions. (Personally, I can’t stand reading from a computer screen. I like books.) Back when I still wanted an established publisher to publish my work, I read constantly about what a long, slow, drawn out process it was. I always wondered why. I mean, they’re all set up for it…
Now I know — there’s just too much to do!
What’s your writing environment like?
It’s both as low tech and as magnificent as you can get.
I live off the grid in a converted school bus with my son and a pack of dogs. By most people’s standards, we’re camping. Chop wood, carry water, solar electricity. It’s incredibly crowded and my work surface is tiny. There are way too many books and notes to even begin to fit and I am constantly moving things around. All my writing is done on my lap. I write my books with a pen, not a computer (that comes later, for editing, etc) and have a big 3-ring binder that I prop up between my crossed leg and the edge of the table. Sometimes I use a clipboard. It’s pretty uncomfortable, but I’m really determined.
But! We’re parked on 120 acres in the middle of the ranch district in the Rocky Mountains. There are no neighbors, sirens, boom boxes or traffic noise—just the songs of the coyotes, ravens and hawks. We have a 360 degree view into eternity that includes mountains, sunrises, sunsets, miles and miles of desert uninterrupted by other peoples’ houses and the Milky Way gleaming in the black velvet midnight sky. My imagination has a lot of elbow room!
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on a new long poem called Dreaming In Dead Languages as well as the third novel in the Calliope Braintree Series, Weird Sistahs! Threnody of Heaven. This used to be finished but, alas, it isn’t anymore. It’s undergoing a massive re-visioning. (Which I’m actually quite excited about!) I’m also working on a huge marketing thing that is taking forever. But it’ll be fabulous when it’s done. Along with that, I’m leaping through a series of flaming hoops to get a loan to buy this property. (A lovely cluster of small, hand sculpted houses are in our future!)
The biggest thing I’m working on, however, is trying to figure out how to juggle all of this. I need to clone myself!
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Author Blog: Anne of Blue Bus Books