When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have always written from the time I can remember. I started to write a journal when I was about nine years old, and I’ve kept one since then. I love story telling so I think it was a way to express that, but also to express what I felt inside that I probably felt uncomfortable opening up about. It started out as a coping mechanism for me. Perhaps it still is. I can’t imagine a day without it.
What is your work schedule like when you are working?
I am a morning writer. I usually get up about 5:00am and write until about 10:00am. If I have the entire day free I’ll write all day until 4:00pm. It’s just in my blood now to get up and write. It’s not constant writing you understand, there’s lots of thinking and making endless cups of tea – but it’s all centered on what the next word is.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to hang out with my friends and chat. I love to spend time with my nieces. Interaction, I guess. I need to be with people, to get outside of my own head.
How many books have you written?
I’ve written two books. One is a novel that has partial memoir sequences in it, and the other is this book, The Invisible Bones. I’ve also written a collection of poetry and a very bad play. None of them are finished. This is the first truly finished work.
Why have you never finished any of your work until now?
Have you read my book? Ha! It comes back to self worth for me. I couldn’t allow anything to come to a birth, so to speak because I had denied the one that mattered. This is the only creative thing I could have finished really. It had to be first because it undoes the string, doesn’t it. It allows an acceptance of myself. Now I can begin.
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a Formula 1 racecar driver. My walls were covered in pictures of racecars. I loved the idea of going fast. I wanted to go 206 miles an hour. I don’t know why but I did. And it’s ironic because I can’t stand anything daring like that with movement. I can’t bear rollercoasters or anything like that. And the one time I did get to go fast in a car I almost threw up. But there you have it. At the time it felt marvelous to me to do that for a living.
Were you good at English?
I thought I was yes. My problem was I always got caught up in the story and let my imagination run away with me so I was never really good at tests. But I’ve always loved to read – always a voracious reader. Reading is the clearest way of learning, of learning anything. And I find it influences me in all aspects of my life. A shared experience – that’s what a book is. Kafka said that a book ‘must be an axe for the frozen sea inside us.’ And that’s it exactly. I think we are all basically a code we’re trying to break, trying to understand and through writing and reading and the sharing of this we can help each other put the pieces of what it means to be alive.
Which Writers inspire you?
Shakespeare, obviously. There is no one on the planet that says things like he does. His words are feeling. His words explain feeling I think. At least they do to me.
My best friend, Van Quattro wrote a book called, Love Lucky. His metaphors are channeled. His writing comes from a place that’s lined with golden thought. I am inspired daily by that and where it lives.
Donna Tartt is of course unbelievable. Her work astounds me. The level of it, the time she takes to write.
E.M Forster - I read all of his work one right after the other. I love the sensibility of the time and the visual skill he has. His books are paintings and I am in them.
The queen of writing for me though is Virginia Woolf. Her style of stream of consciousness has influenced me more than any writer. I’ve been reading her since I was about twelve. Her stories are like her mind exposed, every corner of it. She weaves souls.
How long did it take you to write The Invisible Bones?
The journey itself took a year and I blogged along the way and wrote journals of course. Sitting down to write the book I thought, well, you know, this will be easy, I have my notes and I can just tell the tale. But it’s what underneath, isn’t it. The journey we go on is seldom for the reason that we think.
So the first draft was a regurgitation on a surface level of the trip. It was also over a thousand pages long! No one wants all that, do they?! At the time I had just met Van Quattro and he was just starting to write his book and we partnered up to edit each other’s work. What he did was call me out on what I wanted to say and helped to take me to the place I was able to say it.
I wasn’t a very open person. I found it hard to confide in people. It helped that at first I was only telling the story to him, confessing to him, which allowed me to accept what I had to say in my own heart. So that took two years. Going deeper until the voice came out –which of course became two voices – mine and the voice of a child I chose to let go of. As soon as that came alive it wrote itself really. The words just fell and I let them land there and continued to say, yes, it’s ok.
How does it feel that your story is out in the world now? It’s not just yours.
Right, exactly. It’s not just mine. There was only Van - one other person that knew the inside of my head. I was quite comfortable with that. But I started talking with a friend of mine who I didn’t know had gone through a similar experience of abortion trauma and my telling her my story, and giving her resources helped her. And that’s what stories do – the sharing of our stories it’s how we help each other cope. I know I grow and am comforted by the experiences of others and my hope is that this book will do the same. There is no shame in your story, no shame in your life. Your path is your path because you are on it and it has brought you to the place where you are sitting right now and that’s pretty fucking great. Every experience we go through we can pass forward – good and bad and it will impact someone.
It’s the unexamined life thing, right? It’s not worth living. It isn’t. So to honor who I am I have to respect my choices. This is me doing that.
What are you working on now?
Well, I’m writing a stage version of, The Invisible Bones. The book is about taking friendship out of the machine and back into flesh, about taking yourself out of surface denial, which is robotic in its way as well, and facing it. I want to do the same to the book – take the words and give them flesh, put it on its feet. It’s a venue I don’t have much experience in – playwriting – and especially for one person, namely me to perform it. It’s scary, but it’s an exciting challenge to decide how to craft it. It’s a totally different experience from writing the book itself. It’s alive in a different way.