TCP interviews Kathryn Mockler, Part 4

Welcome to Part 4 of my interview with Kathryn Mockler, author of Onion Man, The Purpose Pitch, and The Saddest Place on Earth:

Read:

Influences

RS: …what and who are your influences? Which poets, artists, creators, inspire you in your own processes? Who do you read and in your reading practice, as it were, do you distinguish, for instance, between, “reading for ‘work’ e.g. for The Rusty Toque or Joyland; reading at night, when you are tired; reading on a whim…etc… When you travel, do you have a certain “go to collection” of reading/readings that you must take with you? If travelling by train, I’d love to know… (Cascadia!)

KM: I never read for the sake of reading. I’d love to read a Jackie Collins novel for fun like I used to when I was in university but because of limits on my time, I must read strictly for what I’m writing or for the journals. When I’m working on certain projects, I read books that I think will influence that project (but not too much). I’m not going to read James Tate if I’m writing absurd humour poetry because the voice is too close. But I might read someone like Jonathan Ball or Lydia Davis whose work is funny and absurd but with an entirely different voice.

On Process

RS: Where do you write and at what time of day?

KM: I’m not a writer who writes everyday and I’m not entirely disciplined, but I’m always picking away at a project. I have a writing office outside of the house and that’s where I go when I really need to concentrate. Sometimes I write on my couch or at my desk. Sometimes I write in a coffee shop. I like to change things up. I can’t do the same thing every day.

RS: Do you write in long hand and then transcribe to the computer? Do you ever compose on Twitter or other social media?

KM: I usually write out the first draft in long hand. And I often compose a line or two on Twitter. Occasionally a Facebook post will become a poem.

RS: Is social media a help or hindrance, or both, to your writing practice?

KM: I’m grateful for social media because it enabled me to get The Rusty Toque off the ground. And it allows me to share my own writing that has been published and to connect with other writers. So for me it’s a help, but it’s also a distraction; therefore, I have to be mindful of how much time I’m spending on social media.

RS: Do you have different places, practices, processes for the different genres in which you write?

KM: Not really. For short fiction and screenplays, I tend to revise a lot more than I do for poetry. I revise longer works and edit poetry.

RS: How long does it take, on average, for you to write a poem, a series of poems?

KM: Depends on the poem but it’s usually pretty quick for the first draft. Onion Man was something I worked on over a period of fifteen years, but each poem didn’t really take long to write.

RS: When do you know you’ve “got” a manuscript worth of work?

KM: Sometimes it’s sneaks up on me. I’ll put a group of poems together and that’s how The Purpose Pitch came about. I wasn’t looking to have another collection so soon, but as I was digging around my files I realized that I had another manuscript.

RS: Do you enjoy teaching? Loaded question! How do you find time to balance writing, reviewing, editing, teaching….

KM: I do enjoy teaching, and I love teaching students creative writing because they are genuinely excited about it. Time management is something I’m always trying to work on. Basically I work all the time and rarely take a break. It’s a good thing I love what I do.

Upcoming Projects

RS: Are you currently working on a new manuscript/project?

KM: Well I have several projects on the go. I’m polishing up an old script called Piss Tank a family drama about a child of an alcoholic who befriends a bully, and I’m finishing up a new script called Weak People Are Fun to Torment a family drama about mental illness.

Poetry-wise I’m working on a collection called One Single Catastrophe in which the past and the future are characters who antagonize each other and book called Make Her Look Happy which is a collection of prose, poems, lists, summaries. I’m not sure what it will be yet.

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