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Monday, December 15, 2008

Okay, My Turn to Interview Myself

I'm taking the Deborah Ager (32poems) challenge. Not sure anyone gives a hoot, but here goes:

Age when I decided I wanted to be a writer: 9 (started a diary)

First short story written: 6th grade (Footsie Island)

Age when I started working on a word processor: Not until at least 34, unless you count stealing time at law firms where I worked as a secretary.

Age submitted short story to a mag, sold one, number sold: have written a few short stories, not published any.

Sold a poem: you mean the first time an editor paid me money for a poem? My mid-30s?

Poems sold: maybe a dozen? (Average payment: $20, if a payment at all). 

Year of first book: 1999

Books pubbed: 2

In print: one definite, one semi (you can find it used pretty easily, though)

Age: 47

Am I writing more since my 401 (K) tanked and it got really cold here in Seattle? Yes, I believe I am. Every free minute I've been editing a poem I started last February. It is almost finished, so not sure what will happen next, but probably I'll start editing the other unfinished ones on my pile (I have about 6).  I have been reading actual books (even if it's only for five minutes at a time) and going to the library a ton. And eating more at home. And shopping more at Trader Joe's. And checking to see if Ebay has it. And bartering. And we joined a babysitting COOP. How about you?  


seanag said...

Nice self-interview, Martha. I think it's not too far off from an interview I'd do of myself, although some of the ages would be significantly different. I don't think I used a word-processor to write with until closer to forty, for instance. And my medium seems to be short stories, not poetry. But the trajectory is similar.

I was quite interested in the last question about whether you are writing more since your 401K tanked, etc? It seems counterintuitive that people would be writing more when they are also in survival mode, but I wonder how many others are writing more, not less just now? I mean with real earnestness? I actually find I'm not, but that's the holidays more than anything else. I do have a feeling of wanting to really get down to it, come January.

Martha Silano said...

I feel like I am writing because it calms me down, keeps me focused on what's important, and god-dang it's FREE. But I know what you mean; when my finances have gotten really dire in the past, I've been too anxious and worried about money to get much writing done.

seanag said...

Yeah, for some reason I have a strange feeling that the economic downturn is going to generate more good and even great writing, rather than less. I may be wrong, but I think that when writers hunker down, they often hunker down around something they can keep writing with. Time will tell.

Rachel Dacus said...

Love your self-interview, Martha, and the whole concept. I think I'll do one too. I agree, the most interesting question is about writing more or less since the economic crisis. I find it has had the same effect on me, I have turned to writing as one area in life not in crisis, at least not at the moment. One place I can focus on meaning and not the disturbed surface of daily life. I've taken on more work since my husband was layed off, and you'd think it would diminish the writing time. It does, and yet that makes me want to fight for it. I'm not waiting for January. I'm giving myself new resolve for Christmas.

seanag said...

That's fantastic, Rachel. Give a shout here when you're done and I will come on over and take a look at your self-interview. I really think this time is very interesting for writers, especially in terms of focus and resolve.

Martha Silano said...

Rachel: yes, focusing on the meaning--that sounds about right to me. I find that when my job is uncertain (which it is right now) and I am watching my expenditures very carefully (most of my life, but that's another matter), the need to make art (meaning out of the chaos and uncertainty?) increases. And I have been doing a lot of reading too--am reading The Martian Chronicles right now (very lyrical prose and set in the future which is now our past), but also the current Beloit Poetry Journal (always a fine dose of music and meaning) and an anthology called Manthology--filled w many of my favorite men (Hoagland, Doty, etc.). Hard times = library and used book times, and scribbling in notebooks times.