My writing is both not a day and everyday. There is never a whole day I can devote to writing but I write most every day in segments or what we will call sessions. I call myself often on Twitter, in interviews and books, a womanchild. It refers to the fact that though I am very much a woman chronologically, I have a teenage heart emotionally. Part of being a womanchild, knowing you have a heart with an exuberant but sometimes flighty nature, is that the woman part of me makes schedules to protect the sacred time I require for writing.
A womanchild, like any human, has “responsibilities” that have nothing to do with writing. I battle them like any writer does for my very artistic and spiritual existence. I schedule and guard my writing time with a vengence and a fury. As a person who took a 15 year hiatus from writing and completely lost myself, I don’t grant myself the privilege of breaks. I’ve used up my off days of writing for life. So I write almost every day, I attempted to take a week off recently. It lasted two days.
So every day as soon as I can get there, like an adrenaline junkie body builder whose Mecca is the gym, I make my way to a coffee shop. It’s often a Starbucks where I order a venti white chocolate mocha, pull out my Capricorn caffeinated work ethic, my MacBook, whatever annotations I have to do for the day and begin there. I have two chapbooks in the world: Pink Plastic House & Good Girl Games. I offer signed, annotated copies on my website Kristingarth.com which is just a fancy way of saying pink ink scribbles of my thoughts and secrets teenage diary style right in the book.). I usually have at least one of these to do.
Writing Session 1: Coffee Shop
After I annotate a bit, with earbuds securely in my ears, I switch my iPhone from shuffle to a special instrumental playlist. Here’s a secret about me: though I love to write in public, I can’t abide words in my ears when I write poetry — not even accompanying music. So if I’m writing poetry, I might be listening to Mum, Salem, Maxence Cyrin, Tchaikovsky. The music could be electronica or classical but it’s going to be lyricless. Maybe I’m a simpleton — in fact I’m pretty sure it’s the case but I am in lust with words, and they are endlessly distracting to me. I require very specific sensory input when I’m writing.
I start a sonnet at a Starbucks or a place we have here called Bagelheads when I give in and splurge on an expensive loxworks bagel. Depending on the day I am there between two to four hours. Then I am sucked away from my happy place/interior world/writing space and deposited back into the world of responsibility for some hours. I often have just a beginning to a sonnet but it but every once in a while I complete one there.
During the interim between writing session one (coffeeshop) and writing session two (we’ll get there in a second), the only writing I do when I have a minute is Twitter (@lolaandjolie). I post on Twitter some of my thoughts or what socks I’m wearing like this:
Writing Session 2: Walk in the Woods
After the woman parts of my day are done with me, the childish, selfish part of my soul is free to play again. One of its very favorite games is words. Once again, I put on my headphones and head to the woods around where I live. I love to walk around typing lines in iambic pentameter with leaves and twigs crunching under my feet feet. I’m usually attired in a tennis skirt and Nikes or a sundress. The headphones are in and my fingers are frenetic. My mind is lost and happy while I wander for an hour, hour and a half. I often finish a morning sonnet on this jaunt. I look like this:
Writing Session 3: Late Night
I don’t always make this session of writing very long. Sometimes if my sonnet is done, I don’t have any interviews to do or annotations, I skip it entirely. More often than not though, I lie on my bed finishing a poem of beginning a new one. I feel like the tired brain is halfway between the conscious brain and the subconscious — two worlds. I think that is a goldmine place for material. Even if it’s just a couple of lines that I jot down for the new day, it’s a beginning and always takes me some place magical.
Sometimes I have edits to do late at night as well. I have three solo chapbooks forthcoming in 2019. I have a chapbook Puritan U from Rhythm & Bones Lit, March 2019. Another will be forthcoming from The Hedgehog Poetry Press, Shakespeare for Sociopaths, January 2019 as well as my full length Candy Cigarette Womanchild Noir forthcoming in April 2019. I receive proofs a lot and correspondence about publication issues I tend to lying in bed late at night, too.
I also am co-editing two anthologies. The first is a Slenderman Creepypasta anthology for Dancing Girl Press called Mansion. My co-editor is Justin Karcher, and we are often discussing scary poetry late at night. My second anthology has just closed submissions and is in production now. It’s an anthology on sexual assault entitled You Are Not Your Rape. It’s being published by my co-editor’s Press Rhythm & Bones Lit. The book is over 200 pages of literature from over 80 survivors. It was a huge undertaking. For me those late night sessions are over. For my co-editor, editor in chief of Rhythm & Bones Lit, Tianna Hansen, they’ll continue for a bit.
Clearly, a womanchild can have a very intense writing schedule. It’s never a whole day but every day several portions of my day are devoted to writing. It’s a schedule I maintain to stay prolific and accountable in my artistic life. I’m also pretty sure that is what keeps me young at heart. At the end of writing session 3, I dream. Sometimes dreams are sonnets, too.
Kristin Garth is a Pushcart & Best of the Net nominated sonnet stalker. Her poetry has stalked magazines like Glass, Yes, Five:2: One, Anti-Heroin Chic, Former Cactus, Occulum, Luna Luna, & many more. She has a chapbook Pink Plastic House (Maverick Duck Press), three forthcoming: Pensacola Girls (Bone & Ink Press, Sept 2018) and Shakespeare for Sociopaths (The Hedgehog Poetry Press Jan 2019), Puritan U (Rhythm & Bones Lit March 2019). Her full length, Candy Cigarette, is forthcoming April 2019 (The Hedgehog Poetry Press). Follow her on Twitter: (@lolaandjolie), her weekly poetry column (https://www.rhythmnbone.com/sonnetarium) and her website (kristingarth.wordpress.com).