J and M met in an MFA poetry workshop in 2010. One has since pitched her thesis in the trash. The other has returned to fiction writing.


Any kind of pencil that will bow to an eraser. All writing. Watercolor with ink.

Metal sculpting.

Singing. I was a member of a few performing groups over the years, but now only the inside of my car hears me.

Crayon. Do you know how hard it is to scrub a crayoned mural off a wall?

When I was in second grade, I figured out how to trace the illustrations in my favorite books from the school library: Black Beauty, Lassie Come-Home, Beautiful Joe (you get the idea). I plastered my bedroom walls with these pictures and, soon enough, with my own original drawings. I was obsessed. Not just with dogs and horses, but with obliterating the white-roses-on-blue, '50s-era paper that was peeling off my walls. Oh, wait... I'm dating myself, aren't I?

Just about all of my writing springs from ideas that worm into my head at the oddest times. Like when I'm crawling around under my car and turning wrenches. When my knuckles are smashed and my hands are dirty, especially where machinery is involved, stories arrive. I'm a slow writer, who thinks too much and tends to revise everything nearly to death. So my favorite element is feeling like I've finished my latest project, or at least that I've brought it to a point where I can let it go. Or, better yet, knowing it's ready to go under its own power.

favorite medium
elusive medium
foregone medium
regrettable medium
favorite memory in
a favorite medium
favorite element of another
favorite medium

Oil. Followed closely by ink and poetry.


Fiddle. I gave up music to focus on painting. Hopeful that I'll pick it up again someday.

Anything involving a glue gun.

In college, my Intermediate Studio Painting professor tried to break me early in the semester (most notably with an animated, disparaging impersonation in front of the class of how I held and used a palette knife... apparently there is a wrong way). It didn't work and we ended up reaching a happy... medium. Lesson learned: don't tell a professor you've already been painting for ten years before showing up in his class, even if it's true, because he'll make you prove it!

The process, maybe? I approach poems in the same way as paintings: by gathering. Single words, phrases, an image. At some point I wised up and got a notebook, but I used to keep small piles of repurposed envelopes, scrap paper and index cards all over the place. When it's time to compose, intuition takes one of the reins otherwise I'll get too hung up on "making sense" line by line. Poems are like paintings in that there's a basic framework. Then layer upon layer gets added, altered or scrapped altogether. I'll abandon them for a while (poems really do need to sit in the dark and build up a callus, I think), come back, rearrange, revise, revise again.

© 2020 Kin Press

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