Hello, fellow writers! I'm looking to "find my people" after many years isolating as a writer. Bad me for doing that!
I graduated from a Master's Program in English 10 years ago, in which I wrote a collection of fiction for my final project. Since then, I've written and edited an 86,000 word memoir about my experience as a wildland firefighter as a young woman. I also started a blog, Hidden Stories, in which I interview homeless people, overlooked people, or write about unusual places. I've published a few pieces of writing (poetry, flash-fiction, memoir excerpt) online during this time. I've also been involved in performance art -- specifically community theatre and voiceover. I am a full-time Special Education teacher in the Boston area and a part-time college writing instructor.
In educating myself about what it takes to be published, I've learned that my approach to reading and writing needs to be different. I need to find peers whose work is similar to mine and I need to start joining the conversation.
Authors who have deeply inspired me over the past five years, (working backwards from what I'm currently reading) are Matthew Vollmer, Molly McCulley Brown, Jamie Wright, Rachel Held Evans, Lynn Nottage, Stephen Adly Gurguis, Kaleefa Sanneh, Laurie Anderson (performance artist but also a writer to me and I have to have her on this list), Rachel Kushner, Otessa Moshfegh, Lucas Hnath, Annie Baker, Sharon Olds and Christian Wiman. Many of these are playwrights, a nod to my love of theatre and dialogue.
If I could distill what I care deeply about, what I'm hungry to read more about, and what my yet-to-be-published memoir touches on, it is this: people who have grown up in privilege and know it, who are fighting to get out of numbness into a fuller lives, to escape the sheen of protection that covers them and enter into truly living, not afraid to be counted among the broken and hurting and disappointed. People who believe in God and in the richness of what humans have wrought -- music and art in all its madness, people who want to push the edge of what it means to be devout, but know in their hearts that this world is not all there is. People who often make others and others' opinions their god, who have made sexuality and desirability and youth their gods, and are trying to break free of that. People who want to relate to their bodies in a new way. People who want to be true children of God in this world and who know that doing so will take them to uncomforable places -- often this means to cities, to subcultures, to what seems mundane and is infused with magic.
Thank you for letting me share and I look forward to getting to know you!