In these interviews, writers who also teach discuss publishing, teaching, the business of editing and managing literary journals, and, of course, their own work and process. They offer advice and hard-won wisdom for burgeoning writers and their teachers. We also ask them about their favorite music, and who knows, maybe a favorite writer or two, and a great coffeeshop or beer to add to your "must try" list.
Being an editor is an act of service, an act of generosity. There are many of us who can be curmudgeonly and grumpy sometimes, but we wouldn’t be doing this particular part of the business if we didn’t believe in the capacity of others to amaze us. The short way to fail as an editor is to just lose that capacity for surprise and delight.
We are just serious readers in my family, and I grew up imbued with the love of literature. I am also a feminist and a humanist and believe in equality. So discovering and publishing new and emerging women writers and giving voice to those who haven’t had the chance fits. None of us who does CALYX does it for any other reason than our commitment to women and our love of literature and art. We certainly don’t do it for financial gain.
I’m always floored and confused when I hear people say how they sit down everyday for, like, two hours even if they only get a paragraph out. When I write I’m writing nine or ten hours a day, turning out a lot of material. But then I’ll have down time between projects—at first I don’t want to write because I’m still in the last project; those are the people I’m with, the voices I’m with. Then slowly I’ll start fixating on something new. It gets to be so I’m constantly hearing dialogue in my head, whenever I’m in my car I’m thinking of lines, and I start maniacally making outlines on the back of napkins. Then I know it’s time.