Why do you write?
I write because it’s been my outlet for just about as long as I can remember. It’s something I turn to when I have a lot to say and no one to say it to, when I’m trying to sort my head out, when I’m trying to gain perspective, when I have something inside me that needs to come out. I mostly write for myself, and it’s only been over the last four years or so that I’ve realized that those words (the more personal sort) can be out there for other people to read and relate to.
What books do you read?
I read whatever catches my attention. I tend to be drawn to stories of people being lost, people finding themselves, people battling their demons. I’ve definitely been leaning more towards female authors and protagonists.
A few books that I’ve loved recently:
Black Cloud by Juliet Escoria
The Cult of Loretta by Kevin Maloney
Skullcrack City by Jeremy Robert Johnson
Anything written by Chelsea Martin or Adam Gnade
Every Kiss A War by Leesa Cross-Smith
What inspires you?
Kathleen Hanna, my Parents and the lives they’ve led, anyone willing to put themselves out there fearlessly, my fuck-ups, music, movies, reading a book so good that I wish I’d written it, the ocean, the forest, the creative drive of people around me.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer and when?
I’ve always been scribbling in notebooks about my day or my thoughts or whatever was bugging me. I wrote a lot of terrible poetry through high-school and my teachers were always really encouraging and supportive. It was the only thing I was ‘good’ at. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens – early twenties that I started to think about writing professionally. I sent a few stories to Kevin Shamel, who was an editor for Eraserhead Press at the time, and he strongly encouraged me to attend BizarroCon, meet people, and write some stories. I’m glad I listened. Without him I’d still be writing and hiding my words in shoeboxes.
How Do you deal with rejection?
With ice cream.
It’s difficult to not take rejection personally. Professionally, I get a little down on myself, but I try to consider what I could do better, what I could adjust, what’s wrong with what I’m presenting, and the possibility that maybe my work just isn’t for whoever isn’t picking up what I’m putting down. I try to handle it with as much grace as possible. The only thing that makes being rejected worse is making an ass of yourself afterward.
Who are some writers you admire?
Leesa Cross-Smith, Jeremy Robert Johnson, Juliet Escoria, Sam Pink, Chelsea Martin, Adam Gnade, Mary Miller, Rios De La Luz, J. David Osborne, Lynn Breedlove,
Cameron Pierce, Cody Goodfellow, Virginia Woolf, Kyle Minor… this list could go on for days.
Is writing the only artistic medium you do?
Pretty much. Sometimes I’ll paint, collage, try to sew, I used to really be into photography, mixed media. I generally turn to other forms of art when I feel stuck with my words. Sometimes you need to get out of your head and make something with your hands.
What would be some advice you would give to your younger self?
Take it easy on yourself. You’re stuck with you, so you may as well make the best of it.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. All the time.
What is your writing process?
I wish I had a more structured process, but really it’s just whenever I feel that nagging thing in my head that wants to spew words on a page. It hits me sometimes walking, working my day job, or on the bus, so I’ll type a bunch of notes into my phone and if I’m not able to complete whatever thoughts I’m having or direction I’m going, I’ll try to pick back up where I left off.
I try to just get it all out before I forget what I’m trying to say, and then shape it up during my first round of self-edits. I try to do at least three rounds before anyone else lays eyes on whatever I’m working on.
Constance Ann Fitzgerald is Head Editor/Curator of Ladybox Books and author of TRASHLAND A GO-GO. She lives in Portland Oregon where her happiness is wholly contingent upon whether or not there is a dog in the room.