In this post I will be responding to a standard set of interview questions about my forthcoming chapbook. Then, I've tagged another poet to do the same. Thank you so much to the lovely Caitlin Thomson, for getting me involved in this project. Read Caitlin's interview here.
1. What is the title of your book? Is it a working title?
My chapbook is titled The Case of the Missing Lover. It is the first title I put onto paper, and I like how straightforward and familiar it is. It will be going to press as is.
2. Where did the idea for your book come from?
The Case of the Missing Lover is a choose your own adventure style chapbook. I loved reading choose your own adventure books when I was young, because it felt like I was reading a story made exclusively just for me, of my own creation. Of course, in my book there are a finite number of permutations in the story line and people can have the exact same path as each other. The thought of involving the reader to actively engage in the creation of the story, rather than just portraying a static narrative, was always so appealing to me. Finding my one true, romantic love has always been a driving force in my life, since I was a young girl. After dating and experiencing adult life for so many years, I gained enough material to understand all the various outcomes that a romance can have. All of the endings in my book are based in some way on my own personal experiences with men. I wanted to create a map of love that was based on my personal life but general enough that other readers could relate to and forge their own journey upon reading.
3. Who and/or what inspired you to write your book?
Water is a recurring image and metaphor in my book. This quote by Toni Morrison was very influential: “All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.”. The idea of a single drop of water going on a journey-- rushing through sewers; human intestines; seeping into the earth; swelling in the sky, and all with the singular purpose of getting back to its origin, is something I compare the journey of finding love to. If you believe in soul mates, soul packs, or that we originate from one large collective soul that existed ages ago, then this correlation makes sense. If soul mates exist, for example, then we started out as ½ of our original soul, the other half being split from us, and our journey on earth is to find them, and return to a state of wholeness.
The scientific experiments of Masuro Emoto were very influential for this book. He hypothesizes that water can receive messages and change its physical structure accordingly. In my book the presence of water comes in different forms and functions differently depending on the emotion it is beside.
4. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft was completed in just a few days. It was an intense burst of adrenaline to complete the poems. The editing and adjusting of it was what took most of the time with this chapbook, and it was a learning process.
I typically write my poems on my computer or handwrite them on scraps/my journal, and occasionally on my typewriter, but this first draft manuscript was the first, and only of mine, to be composed on an iPad. I think that the different forms of physically creating a poem can greatly influence what results from it. I don't believe that sitting down to write a poem with a marker on a balloon can ever yield the same poem that would come from writing in the dirt with your fingers.
This question initially made me think of a quote by Burton Rascoe: “What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out the window.” The tangible act of typing my book up didn't take long, but the writing process of a first draft starts long before the conscious mind even recognizes there is the idea for a book. So the process could have begun for me when I was a child and being bathed in the tub, or when I was being carried unconscious during a flood through the streets of Spain, or when my face first felt rain.
Whatever the catalyst was, I believe the first draft of this book began there, long ago. I believe that ever since then, my brain has been writing the book-- not making much noise, just an efficient machine that sometimes grabbed more material/images/phrases from the various stimuli as I simply lived my life, fueling its engine with my experiences. So, the short answer to this question is that I do not know the maneuverings and whereabouts of my mind well enough to have a real answer.
5. What genre does your book fall under?
Choose your own adventure-romance-spiritual.
6. What books would you compare yours to in your chosen genre?
I have not read any books of poetry that I thought it similar to in any way, and that is the precise reason I wanted to write it.
7. What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
This book is not finished and cannot be finished being written until it is read.
8. Do you have a publisher, or will you self-publish your book or seek representation?
Kristy Bowen, from Dancing Girl Press will be publishing my book this spring. I am extremely, ridiculously honored to be affiliated with this press, and am so grateful that they believe in my work enough to turn it into a real live book.
9. What else about your book might pique readers’ interest?
There is an overall scientific and spiritual hypothesis that makes the entire experience of reading the book much more important than its individual poems/paths are. The structure and formula I've created is the real poetry, and not the words themselves.
10. What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie or to read your work for a recording?
I don't think my book could be turned into a movie unless it was a very experimental art film, and I think it would irritate viewers to watch a translation of this into film. Further, the person portraying the “you” in this book will be whoever is reading it, and the personal portraying the “lover” in this book will be whatever the readers projections are. So, my dear readers, you may decide when you read which actors you'd like to play yourself and your lover, I cannot choose that.
Next up on this blog hop, I will be tagging Chaya Silberstein to post interview answers about her upcoming project. I met Chaya while in Anna Moschovakis' poetry chapbook workshop at the Poet's House in Battery Park, several years ago. I instantly felt a rapport with her, as she is one of the sunniest and friendliest people I'd ever met. Since then, we have attempted to write 100 poems in 100 days together, and are about to embark on the 30 poems in 30 days together this April. I love the fact that her personality shines through her poems-- she is very prolific and creates wonderful, soulful little gems that are very accessible to most readers. This is a difficult feat, too often the world of poetry is considered a private little club, and readers who are not trained in poetry arts can't understand what's going on, but Chaya's writing so warmly invites them in.
Here is her bio:
Chaya Silberstein is a roving poet. She serves tasty poems at art galleries, film festivals holiday events and yes, tea parties. She incorporates baked goods, art, spoken word and sometimes African drums. She's taught poetry in classrooms and elderly care facilities. Chaya recently co-published her first book, The Echo of Dreams.
She blogs at: http://poetsdinner.blogspot.com and will post her interview on April 7th.