This is a stop on a blog tour. The topic is Writing Process.
What’s a blog tour, you ask? (What if I just didn’t tell you? What if I said, You don’t know what a blog tour is? What’s the matter with you? (Don’t worry. I’d never do that. I didn’t know what they were either.))
A blog tour is like a chain letter but without the threat of death or tragic accident if you don’t hold up your end of the bargain. For example, my blog post is five days late—typical—and I’m still having a pretty solid week if I may be so bold.
The setup: Megan Stolz wrote a blog post on her website answering four questions, and then she linked to three other people (including me) who did the same thing. I will now answer those same questions and pass the baton to three new writers and they’ll link to three other writers and so on. Think pyramid scheme without the tragic discovery that you’ve fallen for a pyramid scheme. (Unrelated, all of us have books for sale.)
So let’s get to it. The questions:
1. What am I working on?
I just finished writing, editing, designing, and publishing my first collection of essays entitled, and the floor was always lava, and now I’m busy promoting it and getting it in the hands of readers.In the wake of the book, I’ve decided to take a mini-vacation from nonfiction and memory-mining to give my family and my own introspective nature a break.
Accordingly I’ll spend my summer doing [at least] these three things:
Reading. A lot. My new rule for life is that I cannot buy another book without first reading all the unread books on my bookshelf. This includes classics like The Odyssey and Ulysses, but it also includes new titles from my classmates like These Things Do Happen from Ian Anderson and Mapping the Stars from Rachel Wooley.
Amelia. I’ve been working on a short story collection surrounding Amelia for a little over a year now, and I’m excited to revisit her over the summer. She’s young, just moved to Baltimore, and tends to live on the naïve end of the life spectrum. Also, she’s awkward. (Yes. She is fiction.)
Translating Twenty-Five is something else I’m working on. It’s a blog series that experiments with second person all the while trying to figure out what’s the big deal about being twenty-five years old.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This question makes me feel inadequate, but in the interest of playing by the blog tour rules, I’ll do my best to provide a satisfactory answer. My most recent work (and the floor was always lava) differs from other memoirs because it’s divided into micro-essays that capture a single memory sandwiched between larger essays that cover large childhood themes. My style for this body of work was largely influenced by Nick Flynn’s Another Bullshit Night in Suck City and The Ticking is the Bomb, as well as Safekeeping: Some True Stories from a Life by Abigail Thomas
I also enjoy experimenting with different forms that make me uncomfortable on my blog. The Translating Twenty-five blog series is entirely in second person thus far, “Catching My Breath” experimented with a Greek chorus, and “Same Sky, Different City” was influenced by my reading of Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I write what I do because I can’t not do it. In my micro-essay, Writing on the Wall, I talk about a time that I (spoiler alert) wrote on a wall even though I knew it was a bad thing to do. I was four:
“…I was supposed to nap. But I wasn’t tired. I wanted to draw or color or write. I needed to. I told Molly this and asked her for a color and a piece of paper. Where am I going to find a piece of paper? That wasn’t really my problem.”
And it’s still like that. I need to write and so I do. That’s it. I know that’s an annoying answer, but I dare say you talk to most writers and they’ll say the same thing. Especially a poet. Ask a poet why they write poetry. They give the greatest answers, but it always comes back to this: I write because I have to.
4. How does my writing process work?
Sometimes, my writing process is as I’ve described above. I feel something (emotionally I mean, not like a demon or anything) and I write it down. I see something that makes me laugh or makes me ask a question (are those birds about to kill each other or are they being super friendly, and why is one so much bigger than the other?), and I laugh and then write it down. Or sometimes a smell or sound triggers a memory I’d all but forgotten, and I write it down.
Other times, I use coffee or wine. Actually, most times, I use coffee or wine. I like to write new things in the crunch time between the gym and work when I should be getting ready instead of sitting at my desk drinking coffee, and I like to sit on my back porch with a glass of wine after work to edit pieces in progress. I reserve Saturday mornings for Atwaters in Belvedere Market though (almost always) where I can do the heavy lifting of revision and refinement on most of my pieces. Those mornings have become extremely important to me and my writing.
And now for the three other writers who will most definitely be more punctual with their blog post than I was. (Also, a reminder, all these fine people have brand new books for sale. Check out their websites for more details.)
Mychael Zulaf is a poet, musician, and book artist currently living in Baltimore. He just graduated with an MFA and has absolutely no idea what to do next.
Saralyn Lyons is a poet based in Baltimore. She loves expressing herself through writing, but is usually distracted by her other hobbies: Netflix and karaoke. She now has a master’s degree so follow her as she chronicles her journey. There will be ups, downs, and lots of weird poetry and probably movie spoilers and Fleetwood Mac lyrics. Don’t worry. You’ll like it.
Judith Krummeck is an immigrant from Africa, a classical music DJ, and a creative nonfiction writer.
She is a graduate of the University of Baltimore’s MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts. Her first book “Beyond the Baobab” is a collection of essays about place and belonging from an immigrant perspective.