This is an interview that was original published at Amazon.com showcasing the work and background of our own Kara L.C. Jones, author of KotaPress titles such as Flash Of Life, Mrs. Duck & The Woman, Father Son Holy Ghost. Kara is also our Site Editor. Check it out!
I suppose my writing is most colored by the journey I've taken since leaving Pittsburgh-- a continuation of the small town theory. Once you get past the fright of "leaving home," you soon discover that all the world is the same. You eventually find the bank, the post office, the grocery, the bakery, maybe a decent museum or two.
In the same way, no matter
where my poetry, you will
eventually find the lover,
the husband, the child,
the mother, the anger, the
hope, and on and on. Ultimately,
I write what I know on the
most intimate levels, and
people everywhere say, "I
know exactly what you mean."
For all our diversity, we
Amazon.com: When and why did you begin writing? When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Kara: I began writing as a child when it was fashionable for men and the church to promote the idea that women should speak only in the kitchen or the confessional. I wrote to keep my voice.
Actually calling myself a writer was quite a different matter. I didn't fit the skin of the profession so well, or so I thought.
I was in Pittsburgh at age 21 or so, and I was studying with Jim Daniels at Carnegie Mellon. Jim had just released the movie version of his book "No Pets" that was done by Tony Buba. On the soundtrack of that movie, a musician named Frenchy Marino is featured. So one night I went to a night club with some friends to see Frenchy play.
After the last set that night, Frenchy came to our table to hang out and talk. I told him I knew who he was, and he asked how. I told him I was studying with Jim Daniels and had heard the soundtrack.
At this point, Frenchy said to me, "Oh, you are a writer then." And I heard myself answer, "Yes, I am a writer." I had never said that to anyone. Later that night, my sis Monica said, "I heard you finally say you are a writer. Congratulations."
Somehow, that little conversation with Frenchy made it official for me. What is that saying-- something like "God/dess is in the small details."
Amazon.com: Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way? What books have most influenced your life?
poets have had a hold on
me for a long time. Especially
Sexton. Also, I have found
that if one wishes to be
a contemporary woman confessional
poet, it is a good idea
to think of Sharon Olds'
book "Satan Says"
as a Bible. Her poems "Primitive,"
Amazon.com: What is the most romantic book you've ever read? The scariest? The funniest?
Kara: Nothing comes to mind in terms of romance or humor. But I will say that the most valuable book I've found is "The Artist's Way" by Cameron. It may take only 12 weeks to go thru the course, but I keep it for everyday use. It's the guidebook for figuring out what's next for me.
Amazon.com: What music, if any, most inspires you to write? What do you like to listen to while writing?
Kara: I don't usually listen to music while writing because it is too distracting. But when the writing is going slowly or I need a break, I especially like anything that will make me dance around the house. Etheridge, Madonna, Lennox, and Luscious Jackson are great for this. Lately, I've been listening to Africa North cd which makes me want to belly dance.
To get inspired about making a living as a writer, I listen to as much Laurie Anderson as possible. Forget about all the SLAM stuff, and listen to Anderson! She is the ultimate writer, poet, performer, and she's better than any SLAMer I've ever encountered.
Amazon.com: What are you reading now? What CD is currently in your stereo?
Kara: I just finished reading the Dyke and the Dybbuk-- great book!!!! Also just finished the Patron Saint of Unmarried Women which was very funny. And at the current moment, I have given in and finally done it. I'm reading Harry Potter!
I didn't think I would. I was sure it was a fine collection of stories and all, but I just wasn't interested. THEN, I heard a news story about the right wingers burning copies of Harry Potter and trying to ban it from school libraries. Well, baby, I am always motivated to read what is "forbidden."
It is a great book, and I'm thinking now that those right wingers are just t-ed off because they can't find followers as faithful as Potter readers. Their jealous.
Amazon.com: What are you working on?
Kara: I'm working on a million things at once. In terms of my own writing, I'm working on at least three different collections of poems right now. I'm also editing the Kota Press Poetry Journal which comes out quarterly online. And also thru Kota Press I'm working on books for several other authors in terms of editing and layout. It's a little crazy, but a lot of fun. I'm not too interested in making my living any other way.
Amazon.com: Any closing thoughts?
Kara: Just wanted to share a piece of information that has helped me make my living this way: Writing is a game of statistics. Submit your work enough, and you'll find an editor who digs it enough to publish it. Read at enough open mics, and you'll meet everyone you need to know so that you can start reading in Featured spots. Take enough workshops and classes, and eventually you have enough ideas to teach your own class. The business of your art (after the writing itself is done) is all stats!