This week’s interview is with poet and Peeking Cat Poetry contributor Lisa Stice! She has most recently been published in the Christmas and January issues of the magazine, and it’s particularly interesting in this interview to hear about how being a military spouse has shaped her writing.
When and why did you first start writing?
Well, the first poem I can remember writing was in the second grade. I wrote a poem about kit foxes (which I was totally obsessed with at the time). It rhymed and actually had a natural sort of meter; of course, I didn’t know what metric poetry was at the time, but I guess I was influenced from growing up on nursery rhymes. For the most part I just wrote poems here and there and for class assignments. In my undergrad years, I started getting serious about writing. I took an intro to creative writing class and just couldn’t stop writing poetry. I think I was old enough then to realize the power of poetry, to love it for the way it conveys emotion and to appreciate experimenting with craft.
What was your favourite book as a child?
I had my mom read The Merry Mouse Book of Nursery Rhymes so many times that I had it completely memorized by age three.
What do you enjoy writing, and what do you find yourself writing about most often?
For a long time, I liked to create fictitious speakers who struggled with their place in the world. I still love creating fictitious speakers, but in the last few years, I’ve expanded to write more about my life. I suppose I know myself better now. As a mother and a military spouse, I pull a lot of inspiration from my toddler daughter, who is quite unpredictable, and from my unpredictable military life. I like to explore where my civilian and military lifestyles me. Lately, I’ve been focusing quite a bit on how this blended lifestyle affects my daughter and my little dog.
Where do you write? Do you have a writing space or a particular process/routine?
While most of my ideas come when I’m in the shower or just about to fall asleep, I do most of my writing at my desk. Often, I write the initial ideas and lines in longhand, but the poem usually comes together on my computer, and I do all of my drafting on my computer. Until recently, I did most of my writing and revising in the early morning or late evening, but since my daughter started preschool in the fall, it’s freed up quite a bit of extra writing time for me. Still, my most creative moments come in the mornings and evenings. Maybe it’s the moon that guides me.
What’s your favourite word?
What do you find the most difficult or challenging about writing?
The most challenging thing about writing is learning to be okay with a dry spell. I know that writers block means it’s time to just observe, read, live life, but that scary thought of “what if I wrote all that I could write” still creeps in. Of course, I eventually start writing again and feel silly for worrying.
Tell me about the piece of work that you are most proud of writing, or about the writing accomplishment you are most proud of.
I’m incredibly proud of my collection Uniform (Aldrich Press). I was surprised at how brave I could be to expose my biggest fears and frustrations as a military spouse. It gave me the strength to write more about the experiences and people who are closest to me.
What are your writing plans, goals or dreams for the future?
My second manuscript is submitted to some presses right now, so I’m hoping to hear some good news from one of them. I’m about halfway into my third manuscript, so I have quite a bit of writing and revision ahead of me. I plan to keep writing poetry for the rest of my life, and my biggest goals are to serve as a poetry editor for a journal and to teach at the collegiate level.
Would you like to take part in an interview for the Peeking Cat blog? Email firstname.lastname@example.org