20 April 2013 - ISH KLEIN - Guest Author

ISH


KLEIN

- Guest Author -
 G'day guys,

Today I welcome a chirpy writer from Amherst, Massachusetts, USA - Ish Klein. Welcome, Ish ...

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.


My name is Ish Klein.  I changed it from Rosemarie Klein when I turned 18 but I am a woman rather than transgendered.  I began writing very early and getting support from teachers.  Poetry is my main area.  For me, poetry is the sort of thing that I feel I always have to be available for.  Meaning that I will stop anything to jot down something that I think is important or interesting in that moment.  In this way it has become my record keeping system. In 2009, my first book of poems came out.  It is called Union!

In 2011, my second book of poems came out which is called Moving Day.  They are both on Canarium Press.  I have another manuscript which includes a version of a Faust puppet play.   I've also written screenplays and short plays and regular plays.  In fact that is what I'm working on most right now:  establishing a Poet's Theater in the town I live in (Amherst, MA the birthplace of Emily Dickinson.)

     

WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?

Well, I won a lot of writing prizes in high school which made me consider myself a good writer.  Whether or not I was is a different story.  I was keen on it and I just never questioned that writing was the thing for me to do.  Poetry specifically.  I was very encouraged by a great teacher:  Mrs. Frances Goldwater.
     
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?

Right now what I enjoy most about writing is hearing other people read what I've written.  Today we just recorded a play, Drummer 41 which I've been working on for some time.  The actors are all writers so I was flabberghasted out how intensely excellent they were.  I also like when I get invited to read poetry because that's a great feeling and I love to attend great readings.
  

     

WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?


Probably the amount of time I spend alone and the fact that for me it's necessary.  It seems I have to write many bad or mediocre things before I can write a decent thing.  So I work over stuff a lot. I think it is also really hard to be patient with work.

WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?

I started  working in high school (part-time); folding laundry at a laundromat.  I work menial jobs mainly, things that I can leave behind when I clock out.  Right now I work in a restaurant dishwashing.  I admit that this is not ideal.

Of the past jobs, the best one was writing encyclopedia articles for the Columbia Encyclopedia in 1992 or being a bicycle messenger.  The first was good because the bosses were cool and we used to have lunch on the roof of the building in New York and the second because there was camaraderie with the other messengers.

 WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?

I was proud of a reading that I did in Washington D.C. for the AWP at the Four Season's hotel.  It was in the basement and I felt that the material was accurate and that I could make everyone feel that it was.  It got a good response from the people who were there.

Also, I'm proud of the two books.   

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?

I'm working on a play about monads (maybe) and a rune system!  I am working on a poem which I started Sunday and hope to finish sooner than later.  It's topical.
    
 WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

The things that are happening in the world and the things that I think are happening in the world.  Also:   Lifelong artists. Two I can think of now:  Leonora Carrington and Odd Nerdrum they are both painters but Leonora was also a very great writer.

   WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?

I guess a mix between narrative and lyrical.

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?

Never ever give up for long.  Also find readers who are interested in your work.

DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?

Sure all the time; that's why I write.  I think I write more when I don't have any clear ideas and I write to make my ideas clearer.




DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?


I prefer to write  in the mornings because it's quieter.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?

We have a red table and chair in front of a big sliding door.  Every so often there will be wildlife outside.  We saw a pair of foxes in January.  They were probably on their way to mate because it was during their mating season which only lasts two weeks.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?

Other people's positive reactions firstly and secondly, surprising myself thirdly and getting to be part of a writing community.  Like that we now know each other, that is really cool.

 WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?

I love Leonora Carrington because she wrote through her fear and into humor.  She was also a great painter and did sculptures and theater design.  I like the way she created her own world with it's own mythology where nothing  dominated her.  The book I love the most is called, The Hearing Trumpet.

Of the poets I love Raul Zurita, naturally Emily Dickinson, Kenneth Koch (he was my teacher at Columbia but I didn't really understand his work until recently.)  And most of all my friends:  John Beer, Peter Gizzi, Greg Purcell Dara Wier, Stella Corso and Macgregor Card.  I like their atmospheres.

WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?

Someone said that my writing gave her permission.  I think she meant that she felt more free to express herself having read my work.  

WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?

 One person said that I sounded like, "a retard with a knife."


Copyright Clancy Tucker (c)



WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?



Yes.  100%.  In fact, I often wish I was less influenced by myself and more open to all the other things that are happening in other people's lives and in the animal, insect and planetary realms.


 OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?

I love Greg Purcell and I love to ride my bike.  I like making videos and sometimes I love making  items like what could look like a small space ship.  And I love to find random stuff at thrift shops.  And I love pizza and my friends.

 DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?

The books are proof read about three times before going to print.  Does that count as editing?  

DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.

Getting emails from long lost friends in the morning.
Then I have breakfast with a lot of coffee and I will write something GREAT.

And the Greg and I will ride bikes to the movies have pizza and maybe a beer and then come home and there are personal letters from people we love and then a nap and then Peter and Lydia come over and we play Crokinole and listen to music and have sushi.

IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?

Greg.  He's my guy.  He's funny and warm.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?

Solar Energy! and that people are all connected whether they know it or not so we either live together or we die together.  I wish I could just inject that idea into everyone's brain.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?

Greg and I are going to get married in June; we are going to dress up like Oberon and Titania. Also, I think I will write more plays for the Poet's theater and  improve my work situation.

WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE TO HEAVEN?

The Hearing Trumpet  Leonora Carrington
Leaves  of Grass  Walt Whitman
The Exeter Book various author
An Old English Dictionary
An old English Grammar text

DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?

Sure.  All of them.

DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?

Capitalism, in general, frustrates me.





DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?


Yes well I have quit but then I return. It's like a cycle. Or a dance.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?  

Moving Day.  I was getting a lot of positive feedback at that time and that sort of spurred me on.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.

Knowing that you did the best that you could and that it was appreciated by people who matter to you.

WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?

I would like them to know that I don't know anything for sure but I am fairly certain that there are good things in this world.

They should feel however they feel but I would like for them also  to feel as though someone somewhere cares about them.

HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?

For Moving Day, Josh showed me the picture and asked if I wanted it for the cover and I said yes because I loved it immediately.  For Union!  I thought for a long time and decided that a butterfly would be a good image.   I requested a butterfly and Lynn painted it.   

 WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?

To live without fear, in the heart of love or near it.

WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?

I love to tour which is  marketing.
I hope to  do a world tour when the next book comes out and I hope to never say no to a reasonable request to share something that I haven't committed elsewhere.

ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?

How did you find me?  Nevermind.  I am really happy that you found me.   Thank you.



 Clancy's comment: Ish, the best of luck to you and Greg in June. Keep writing.

I'm ...