“We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.”
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am a writer mostly of poetry, but of other things as well. I always wanted to be a writer of novels, but the poetry came first, the novels have yet to completely emerge. I’ve had poetry published for many years. My husband and I moved to Bismarck, North Dakota from Indianapolis, Indiana because my husband accepted a new job as a psychiatric nurse. We hike, camp, and read. We enjoy learning and seeing this part of the country, it is very new to us.
What genre do you write in and what draws you to this genre?
I write mostly poetry, some flash fiction, and finally some essays speaking about culture (music, books, and tv. shows)
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
No, but I am working on a visual/poetry collaborative project with a fellow poet/friend.
What excites you most about your current WIP (Work In Progress)?
I’ll talk in general terms about the visual/poetry project that I am working on with my poet friend. I’m just excited how each of our visual creations are sent to the other for writing inspiration. This is creating a cross-artistic energy since visual art and writing for me happen at two separate energy levels.
Almost everything, about any WIP, excites me. Where the flow of the writing is going, what the rough draft will revel, and what direction then it points to for revision. I realize that if I lose a certain level of excitement, then it is time to set that particular work aside until later.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?
Mostly free form, just go with the flow of a general idea, or I have a visual and write down what I “see” as the action. I also will write mini-bios of characters – so that I may get to know them better away from what I write. I get a deeper “feel” of who they are, what their motivations are, the bios aren’t long or complicated. Sometimes that is just a fun exercise, getting to know the character outside of the writing somehow deepens my relationship with that character.
How do you relax?
I read, watch shows and movies, listen to many different genres of music – my musical taste is very eclectic. I also hike and have an active interest in historical preservation,
I have a series of journals that I work with, that are mostly visual, this is very relaxing. The journals are free-form, rarely when I sit down in front of an open journal do I have even a plan or thought how I will visually express myself. I may have a phrase or quote that I want to record in the journal, but then the visual work just emerges around that brief written passage.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A couple of thoughts and I believe these thoughts about beginning the writing journey are related. I am concerned that aspiring writers are overly anxious for success, for finding their “voice” more quickly, with more self-confidence. I know I was eager and sometimes anxious about this as well. What I would like to say to aspiring writers, (and to my back in the day writer self) is that the writing will come, your “voice” will be found if you follow your instincts and try not to push it forcefully.
I’ve learned from the advice “write what you know” that when you are beginning, the frustration can be overwhelming because sometimes it is, for example, I want to write about dragons, or such and such author writes brilliantly about dragons, but how can anyone really “know” about dragons that makes writing about them unique and special? I understand now that, that phrase, that advice really means “write what you are passionate about, what you have deep, authentic feeling about”. If you have that sincere interest in a topic you will acquire the knowledge that will naturally fit into your writing, your world-building (whatever genre you write in, you are world building), and you will find your specific “voice” for your writing. That said,…
Also, learn your craft for skill, and practice that skill with care.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Just random facts, my family is from the south, West Virginia specifically. I have the experience of a different culture to draw on, for example, the family stories about our family’s participation in the Civil War. Two of my patriarchal lines were Confederates (gg -grandfathers), one great grandfather was Union, yes my grandmother’s father was a Union veteran, and one I confirmed recently was neutral. So I have this rich, sometimes odd emotional history to at least fuel the feeling of my writing.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
My work that I would classify as weird Fiction and edgier poetry can be found on Yellow Mama/Black Petalspublishing site. Amazon has both my most recent chapbook “Star Slough” by Dark Heart Press, and my dark, gothic (fairytale?) published in the anthology Indiana Horror Review 2015
I’ve recently had poetry published in Redshift#4, AlienBuddaPress, The Shrew (ezine), and more, just google Jennifer Lemming poet. Oh, and KDAK 102.5 has frequently played my song Thunder Song (vocals Peter Kobal, CD The Only Star)
I am a contributor with reviews of movies and Streaming shows at a great cultural site, Drunk Monkey’s.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
This is the first poem I wrote after moving to North Dakota in 2014, (following my husband’s job relocation). It was published by Hobo Camp review in January 2016.
Avoiding gopher dugs and digs,
I rub sandalwood oil
mixed with buffalo grease
on my bare arms. Opening
my mouth to bite at the cold,
I finally see the moon
after the membrane of clouds pass
and I try to hold on
until your love reaches shore break
inside my heart,
and shatters all geography.