A Ten Question Interview With The Artist… Katie White

Why do you write?

I can’t not write; I just always have. I also get a huge burst of joy when a sentence becomes perfect—it’s like a drug.

What books do you read?

Currently my reading has veered out of my norm. I was hugely affected by the death of Scott Weiland, which is strange because I never cared much for Stone Temple Pilots. And everyone knew he was a junkie—how long could he have lasted? It just seems that creative people of my generation (Gen X) don’t last long, and I’m now morbidly obsessed with that. I read his second ex-wife’s (Mary Forsberg) memoir a few years back. I just read Scott’s. Then I began reading other musicians of the same era. I just finished Kim Gordon’s (from Sonic Youth), Duff McKagen’s and Slash’s because they were in Velvet Revolver with Weiland and I wanted a fuller picture of those days together, and Chrissy Hynde’s (from the Pretenders). Sitting on my night table are a few others of my same era that I haven’t gotten to yet. Michele Tea, for example—brilliant Gen X writer.

What inspires you?

Life and other writers. The addiction of making a perfect sentence.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer and when?

I always knew. I finally accepted it in earnest around 18 or 19.

How do you deal with rejection?

Horribly. Like a child.

Who are some writers you admire?

Oh, well have a seat. I admire a ton of writers! Catherine Texier is up there for me. Her prose is poetry and never self-aggrandizing, which I greatly admire. Audre Lorde, S.E. Hinton (stay gold, Ponyboy… Actually, if I ever get knuckle tattoos, they’ll say “Stay Gold”), Tom Robbins’ whimsy, Charles Bukowski for lack of pretense and general drunken jackassery, both Anais Nin and Henry Miller (because: sexy), Nabokov, Paulo Coelho, Ivan Coyote, Ali Liebegott who writes epic poems and poetry disguised as prose, Allen Ginsberg, but not Kerouac (how many folks did I just anger?), Sylvia Plath’s Ariel (I have so many of her words tattooed on me), Dorothy Parker for her dry, dry, dry wit, bell hooks, Alice Walker (her poetry in Horses Make a Landscape More Beautiful really helped push me to accept I was a writer. I was 18 or 19, as I mentioned previously, a metal sculpture major at the time and my professor said he needed more art in my sculptures because all he saw were words. He was right. And they were all from Horses Make a Landscape More Beautiful.), the fire of Penny Arcade, the stubbornness of Germaine Greer, the poetry of Amiri Baraka, everything about Sonia Sanchez—her feistiness and surprising turns of a phrase, Emily XYZ, and Pablo Neruda. Just to name a few.

Is writing the only artistic medium you do?

Does slow dancing to juke boxes count? I’ve recently started taking origami classes with my mom (I’m a wild one.). I also play with essential oils and make my own serums, face washes, and body washes.

What would be some advice you would give to your younger self?

Lay off the Manic Panic hair dye; that shade of yellow makes you look like a marshmallow Peep.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just write. Edit like a maniac. Workshop. Rewrite. Edit again. Read everything you can get your hands on; get a library card. Get involved in your local writing community—those folks will understand your neurosis’ and support you. Live big, love big, and write succinctly.

What is your writing process?

I’m pretty bad at those because I resent routines that inevitably start to feel like obligations. Since I’ve started putting together a chapbook based off my bonkers dreams, I write my dreams down when I wake, before I get out of bed, before I start to forget them. I rework them later to attempt to make them art.

Katie White - Copy

Kate White currently does freelance writing for a variety of small businesses, ghostwrites for a Pittsburgh-based publishing house, is one of six playwrights for the Beautiful Cadaver Project—from which the play, northeastsouthwest, will be produced and performed at Fringe Festival-Pittsburgh in April 2016, all while working on a small chapbook of poetry-prose based upon her nightly lucid dreams. She holds a double Master’s in Creative Writing and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Memphis. Kate’s been a freelance writer for 15 years, taught nonfiction writing to Bible Belt undergrads, and also rehabbed fighting dogs. Recently, she moved from Memphis back to her hometown of Pittsburgh and shares her life with two catnip-dependent cats and a three-legged wonderdog. Kate has poetry and/or literary nonfiction published or soon to be published in: ninepatch: A Creative Journal of Women’s and Gender Studies; Life As An (Insert Title Here); As It Ought to Be, Saturday Poetry Series Presents; Stone Highway Review; Blue Collar Review; Photosynthesis Magazine; and Phoebe Lit Journal.

 

 

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