Thanks to my friend, and amazing writer, Alia Yunis, I have been asked to be part of The Blog Tour, where I get to share a little bit about my own writing process as well as talk about three writers whom I love, and who each have blogs that you should check out!
In 2006, I went to the Hedgebrook Writers Colony off the coast of Washington on Whitbey Island.
Hedgebrook is the kind of writer’s Fantasy Land people dream about. It is built on about fifty acres. Each of six female writers, gets her own cottage, complete with wood burning stove, kitchenette, and loft.
The days at Hedgebrook are private and filled with solitude. In the evenings, the writers get together in the large farmhouse. We would talk about our writing, about politics, religion, and life. All the writers come from different backgrounds, each with her own story to tell. I met a few of the smartest people I have ever known at Hedgebrook.
One of the best writers I met was Alia Yunis.
Alia was working on a novel at Hedgebrook titled The Night Counter.
The Night Counter is a wonderfully rich and hilarious modernization of The Arabian Nights. Alia quickly found a publisher for her book. Currently, she resides in the United Arab Emirates where she teaches film and is working on a documentary. You can check out her blog, http://nightcounter.wordpress.com/
The other two writers I want to highlight are a couple of people I have known for some years. Tanisha Wallace Porath’s blog, http://lifeinthewidowhood.com/, is a blog based on the loss of her husband. Tanisha’s blog has a strong level of pathos and determination, with unbelievable comedy in the face of adversity. I highly recommend this unconventional and well written blog.
My other good friend, Tracy Simmons, is a pastor in Anchorage, Alaska. I have known Tracy and enjoyed his writing for many years. He has a unique and original voice in the Christian community. There is something in his blog for everyone and he comes to it with deep honesty and a great poetic voice. Check out his blog here: http://tracyblog.c3ak.com/
Please read more about Tanisha and Tracy’s blogs at the end of the article!
1) What are you working on?
Right now, I am managing a few different projects. I am working on a Young Adult novel as well as a book of essays about growing up as a pastor’s daughter. I am also refining one screenplay and working on a new one. I am focusing attention on blog development and feeding the endless Twitter machine.
2) How does your work differ from others in its genre?
I’m a quirky girl. I love funny stories and I am drawn to characters that look at life differently. I love to laugh and I try to bring that out in my writing, though I’m not always successful. 🙂
3) Why do you write what you do?
I think I write for the same reason anyone writes, which is to be heard. I was raised in a very religious culture in Texas, and I was surrounded by some sweet and kind people, and certainly some delicious pies… But, it wasn’t necessarily always the most accepting upbringing. Certain opinions or ideas, or lifestyles were automatically shut down.
I remember the first time I wrote something that felt honest to me. It was a play called The Day Maggie Blew Off Her Head. It is a metaphysical play that takes place in heaven, where a young woman who is trapped on an Elliptical Trainer is facing the final judgement after she commits suicide. I was nervous about some of the ideas in the play, but I was determined to tell the truth. In the end, the experience was positive. I had so many people approach me and say they identified with the play on a deep level and they were comforted by it, which was comforting to me.
4) How does your writing process work?
Each project is different. Sometimes I begin with a specific conclusion in mind, and other times, I start with a character that I find compelling and see where the writing will take me.
I am trying to outline more and have a better roadmap as to where I’m going, but honestly, I always find the best stuff comes when you least expect it, and that’s where the story is made.
Look for these blogs next week:
Tracy Simmons is an ordained Baptist minister who has lived in Alaska for forty-two years. He currently pastors Christ Community Church, Alaska (www.c3ak.com) in Anchorage, and has been a pastor there for seventeen years. He loves making and writing music, and has been featured as an artist on A&E’s “Sister Wives”, and as a performer at the Alaska State Fair, the Anchorage Folk Festival, and numerous other venues around Alaska and the Lower 48. His original music had been featured in local theatrical productions, including Erin Williams and Amy Bridges, “The Unraveling of Edison P. Rupright”. Tracy is sometimes seen on the local theatre stage, with TBA Theatre (www.tbatheatre.org), most recently as Dr. Seward in TBA’s production of “Dracula”, adapted by P. Shane Mitchell. His current projects include casting vision and leading Christ Community Church, scoring original music for another P. Shane Mitchell original play called “Shadow Hour”, two book projects, a novel and a handbook for parents in the digital age, and a feature length documentary project. But, his best, and most important time, is spent with his beautiful wife of 26 years, Karen, his two sons Stephen and Kristofer, and their four pound Maltese puppy, Haleakala. You can find Tracy on various social media platforms such as FaceBook, Instagram at “Mortis_Alaska”, Twitter @CasualHeretic, and YouTube at TracySimmonAK. Finally, his personal blog is hosted at TracyBlog.c3ak.com. As wonderful as all of that makes Tracy out to be, please keep expectations at a moderate level.
Tanisha Wallace Porath
I was born a poor black girl in…well actually I had a pretty middle class existence in Anchorage, Alaska where I was born and raised. I studied photography at an art college in Seattle, the name of which, try as I might, I can’t quite remember. Soon after I graduated I moved to Portland, Oregon, with my husband and started my career as an editorial photographer. Some of my clients have included: Willamette Week, The Oregonian and several other periodicals. I have two roommates that I happen to have given birth to, my daughter 11 and my son 14. I became a widow on April 2, 2013. I became a writer on April 3, 2013.