What encourages you? My husband. Reading good work. Reading really bad work. The Liturgy. Drinking tea.
What distracts you from your work? New ideas - I’m inconsistent, and I’ve lots of trouble finishing things. My husband. Yarrow. ‘To-do’ lists. And especially Luba who needs more love than even God can give her.
What is your purpose in writing? I am always trying to create and promote a culture of beauty. I’m trying to write as an extension of my life and as an inspiration to live the best life I can.
What authors inspire your choice of theme and direction? The poet Rilke, whose images are so deeply planted in my imagination; Marquez, who manages to meld magic and realism perfectly; Tolkien, who makes myth; and Dostoyevsky, who loves humanity.
What authors inspire you stylistically? Rilke, whose style is beauty boiled down; Flannery O Connor - specifically her letters, because they are clear and honest; Kathleen Norris, because her tone is welcoming and open; and Oscar Wilde, who seems to write purely for his own enjoyment.
**I would add Tolstoy to both of the “inspiration” questions, but it feels arrogant, so I’ll just let him inspire me in private.
What is one thing you wish you could accomplish as a writer? I would like to write letters that are good, I would like to write letters consistently and attractively. I know it isn’t really a “writer’s goal” but I think that even if I published nothing, I would like to have a rich correspondence.
Real discussion will return next week!