by Zan McQuade
Barbara Browning came to life before me on a chilly gray Sunday, as I lay under the bedsheets, dressed in wool for warmth. I’d just finished Sheila Heti’s How Should A Be?, a book that left me feeling a little bit empty and angry. I was in the mood to read more, it was a day made for reading, and so I followed it with Tove Jansson’s Fair Play, a book about artists and writers performing their art on the pages, through video and film.
And then I remembered a book sitting idle on the shelves of my iPad waiting to be read: Browning’s book, I’m Trying To Reach You, about an ex-dancer who, following the breadcrumb trail of related videos on YouTube following the deaths of Michael Jackson, Pina Bausch, and Merce Cunningham, finds himself engulfed in a mystery of internet connections, leading him to become an unwitting spy into a secret and seemingly dangerous world of code and semaphore, messages tapped like Morse code with the rubber soles of a dancer’s sneakers. Browning is a dancer in life, and a character in her own book: the mysterious dancing woman discovered by narrator Gray Adams. Browning herself appears in images throughout the book, stills from videos that live on YouTube as well.
Wait, I thought. So she’s real?
Just a bit from one of my favorite interviews in the “One Question” Series I’m publishing on BeingisaVerb.com:
I love this guy’s work. I mean, I REALLY love his poetry. As in, not only do receive updates from his blog in my email daily… I actually ALWAYS make time to read them. I’ve attempted to copy his style once or twice because it really speaks to me on many levels…as an occasional poet who struggles for several hours to create a poem only five or six stanzas long, as a reader who enjoys writers that show an obvious love for a carefully crafted phrase, and as a creative explorer who admires people who are adept at integrating multiple disciplines into their work.
All that is my small attempt to explain why, in this particular interview, I broke my own rule.
I asked Anansi to tell me what inspires him.
Okay, I didn’t ask as simple or as straight up as that. See… if you read his work (trythis, or this, or this that I love so much), you’ll see that EVERYTHING inspires him. So really what I told him is:
And he responded:
Everyone has a medium in which they communicate best. For some its painting, for others its dance or feats of strength, and for a few it’s language. Words are stronger and more far reaching than even the meanest rhinoceros, if used the right way. With them, I try to put careful kindness into topics un-talked about.
The way someone writes tells a lot about why he/she writes. To me, its a compulsion to try and help people with creativity. If I can make them smile, or think something that they wouldn’t otherwise, my job is well done.
The goal is to draw harsh realities with a fantasy face in the hope that people can relate to them. This country is highly desensitized to inequality, but if it’s written about with whimsy, like from a villain’s perspective or during a zombie invasion, well…there’s hope.
Name (or penname): K. (apart from the photo on this submission, I try to stay as anonymous as possible).
Poetry, Prose (including fiction), or All?: All! But mostly poetry and paragraph-prose.
Describe your writing in 9 sentences: Writing is not a ‘can’: it is a ‘must’. My words are nameless, faceless - writing should be raw, and in a world where we are constantly being force-fed pretty lies, the last thing my writing will do is lie to you. I’m tired of cages. Life hasn’t been kind, but ‘ugly and harsh’ does not mean ‘absent of beauty’, too. I’m not in this for glory, I’m in it to live.
Please link up to 3 pieces you have written (minimum link = 1):
Please suggest up to 3 urls of TWC Writers you follow and enjoy reading (minimum link = 1):
There are many jewels about writing to be found on writer Ksenia Anske’s blog, but this post touched the biggest place in me today.
Great advice for any creator, whether visual or written.
— Stephen R. Covey (via crazywithitcrazierwithout)
I popped in to Dreampunk Geek’s blog as a courtesy visit to thank her for a kind comment on one of my #Flashmo stories. Of course, once I was there, I discovered she was exactly my kind of person: creative, artistic, marching to the beat of her own drummer, and a writer to boot.
When I saw her post about her writing space, I immediately asked if she’d allow me to share it here with ya’ll and she was gracious enough to say “yes!” The following is a reblog of her original post (found here):
My writing place isn’t ideal. I have a desktop PC on a small, cluttered desk. It sits in my bedroom past the foot of the bed and faces the bathroom. Between my chair and bed is my (embarrassingly) dirty laundry on the floor where my dog Peaches likes to lay and sleep. She was a rescue from the pound and can’t hear. When I want to get up my hand automatically reaches down to check if she is on the dirty laundry, give her a pet, and then I stand, careful not to step on her head.
My husband has a lot of health problems. Lately he hasn’t been sleeping at night because he is in too much pain. This means that he sleeps during the day when I am awake and trying to write. The room stays very dark and quiet to try and allow him some rest. My chair squeaks loudly at the slightest movements, so I try to stay still. This makes my shoulders stiff from sitting and typing too long, but I don’t mind.
Sometimes my black cat Barrons (also a rescue from the pound) or little dog Princess keep my lap warm while I write. Sometimes the cat throws things off my desk “accidentally.”
I don’t mind any of this. It is my special place. My desk. Sanctuary. Place of creativity. Place to write.
My favorite thing about my writing place is my husband. When he wakes up he mumbles “I love you.” to me in a half asleep daze. It is the first thing he says. Sometimes I wonder if he does it when I’m at work too, just hoping I’m there. It wouldn’t surprise me if he did.