Carmen Giménez Smith Recommends...

“I have lots of writing rituals, but the most important time for me is late at night, when I have no business being up. Night is when the children are asleep and only insomniacs are sending e-mails. I turn on Self-Control, so I can’t compulsively check e-mail, and I listen to electronic music. Every Boards of Canada album has been a backdrop to every book I’ve ever written, but I also really like the IDM channel on Pandora. Burial or Disclsoure on Spotify—music drowns out the crazy voices in my head that try and derail me.

“I have a giant handmade notebook that I write into only with very sharpened pencils, and I let myself write whatever comes into my head, even if it’s crazy, inappropriate, or bad, whatever that means because in my mind, revising is writing. This preliminary work is like mixing the materials to make the clay.

“I write in bed, too, which is probably shortening my life, but is the only place I can write. I surround myself with books that serve as muses and talismans, voices to guide me.”
—Carmen Giménez Smith, author of Milk and Filth (University of Arizona Press, 2013)