Upon the recent release of my eBook The Message, my literary mom Elizabeth Searle tagged me into the Blog Book Tour going around in which authors answer five questions about their writing process, post the answers on their blog, and then tag three other authors to do the same. Elizabeth was my mentor in grad school. Since then, she and her husband John have become very close friends of mine. Elizabeth has authored a story collection (Iowa Short Fiction Award winner), two novels (Four-Sided Bed, Girl Held in Home), novella (Celebrities in Disgrace), and now the rock opera (Tonya and Nancy). Her work is dark, perky, and erotic. She's an amazingly generous person and great talent!
In kind, I am tagging good friends Jennifer Pashley, Colette Sartor, and an upcoming kid from the Bronx by the name of Don DeLillo. Keep an eye out for their answers!
Here are mine...
WHAT AM I WORKING ON?
I am currently revising a novel and writing a collection of autobiographical essays. The novel is about the vainglorious sex and violence of a melodramatically neurotic Italian American family. The essay collection is about my growing up amongst the vainglorious sex and violence of a neurotic Italian American family. There is slightly more sex and violence in the novel than the essay collection. The protagonist of the novel is better looking and more endowed than me, but at least I’ve actually published an eBook and dozens of short stories. In your face, Santo Zavattini!
HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?
Probably that it’s written by me. That’s a wise-ass answer. I mean it in the profoundly obvious phenomenological sense, but also in regards to my narrative tone/voice. People say my work has a strong, unique voice, which could also be a backhanded way of saying I am lacking in the craft department as I tend to hear the echoing half-emptiness of praise. But this is like asking how Bird's saxophone differs from Coltrane’s. The answer is nothing but existential.
WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?
Because I love to lie/make things up. I write to exorcise my demons. I write so the stuff in my head doesn’t necessarily have to be true in real life. I write what I write to deconstruct things, to break down falsehoods about myself and hegemonic capitalist T truths. ;)
HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?
I usually wake up every morning to the lines and/or scenes of a story or novel chapter. I wake up, brew coffee, listen to “Haitian Fight Song” and then write. When I run out of speed, I wander around the house, staring at walls, partaking in any mindless activity until my brain defrags and is ready to recommence.
AND THE OTHER PART OF THIS QUESTION, HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS NOT WORK?
Lack of confidence. Self-doubt. Soul-doubt. Too much wandering around the house partaking in mindless activities, Facebooking, Instagramming, Tweeting about mindless activities. No money on my debit card.