Loren Kleinman is a poet, writer, editor, teacher and mentor who hails from New Jersey, America. She is widely published in literary magazine, she has released a well-received book of poetry and is frantically preparing for what will be, I am sure, a hectic and fruitful 2014.
She was kind enough to answer some questions for me, and I am delighted to present Loren in her own words.
You’re one of the hardest working writers in the business – what makes you wake up, live your day and still pick up your pen, when others would claim exhaustion?
Because no one else is going to do it for me, and I wouldn’t want anyone to.
So many things keep me going on a daily basis: my social network, friends, family. Support, though, is just one component to me keeping my sanity and snuffing off exhaustion. But, really, writing is the one aspect of my life that completely fulfills me. It’s the one thing that keeps me going. I’m not concerned with fame or fortune. I just want to write. I want to connect with my reader, with my audience, be recognized through the art. When someone sends me an email telling me that they connected on some level with my work or an author thanks me for featuring them on my blog, well, that’s all I need to sustain myself.
You are an advocate of meeting inspiration with perspiration and the idea that one can’t come without the other. Do you think that there is a misconception about writers, poets in particular, that they sit around drinking and occasionally thrust a pen at some paper when ‘inspiration strikes’?
I think advertisements that say, “Write your novel in one month,” really play on people’s vulnerability. Maybe they should add to the fine print: revise your novel in less than two years. It’s a joke, really, to think that what you write the first go around will stick. And poetry is, well, one of the finer of the arts. It’s really a craft in all aspects, you’re carving out your words, you’re being economical, and you’re considering line breaks and such. It takes time and the only way you’re going to get better is giving yourself to the craft. I’ll leave this with saying, it’s one thing to write, it’s another to be in a place to write. Oh yea, and that little thing called tenacity. If you don’t have that, I’d find another profession.
When you talk about writing and development, you often talk about the ‘process’…but what does that process mean to you?
Considering and exploring your own process and all the external forces that affect it. Reading is one of them. You cannot write if you don’t read. Reading is part of the deal. If you tell me you’re not reading, then I’m going to wonder about whether or not you take your discipline seriously. I mean would you want to go to a surgeon that doesn’t keep up on relevant studies, etc.? Now, I’m being dramatic, obviously, but for the purpose of showing you how ridiculous this is. You have to read. There’s no secret sauce.
Oh, and revision. Anyone that tells you they don’t believe in revision is bonkers. I spend more time revising than I do writing. My second poetry collection took me seven years, my novel has taken me about one year, and I’m only at draft three; and my indie book, about two years between research and editing.
Writing is a process. It’s part of the covenant of writers. Writing takes time. Meaning that part of writing is spending the same amount of time you do spend writing on thinking about writing.
I’m thinking about writing right now.
It has been a decade years since your debut collection of poetry, Flamenco Sketches, what can we expect from your upcoming collect, The Dark Cave Between My Ribs?
Something completely different. The collection is about love and loss in its rawest of ways. The book is not necessarily about me as much as it’s about the idea of trauma narratives, or exploring the after effects of trauma, the things it leaves behind and how it supports this idea that there is hope for eventual peace. The book is about living, not dying. It’s about celebrating life even after catastrophe.
You’re travelling to England next year and reading from The Dark Cave Between My Ribs. What is pulling you back to the country where you studied?
It’s where the very first draft of The Dark Cave Between My Ribs was written so England is a special place for me. What influence the book was some very dark times, but the time writing and revising the book was a place of light. It seems right to go back to the place where it all began.
What do you think your experiences as a formative artist studying in both America and England have given you as you’ve developed over the last few years?
The education systems are very different, which I enjoyed. I mean, it’s important we diversify ourselves as artists, not stay, study or live in the same place. Traveling gave me perspective and space away from the things I’d been struggling with. The British system, in my opinion, places a lot of attention on reading and they have such a passion for poetry. It’s revered there. That’s inspiring to me.
You’re working on a novel, and you have an IndieReader book out in 2014. What differences have you found in the different genres of writing as you’ve gone through the process?
Fiction is humbling. Journalism is humbling. The novel is a literary New Adult love story and the Indie books celebrates the indie community, including galleries, bookstores, authors and more. We even feature James Franco in the collection.
The processes for both are so different. Interviewing is an art. It’s about researching that individual before you even write up your questions. You want to be prepared. I mean, after all, the author is taking the time to talk to you, you better have your research in order.
The fiction is terrifying for me, and tears did not fall short. Outlining, character sketching, massive re writes, plot, the arc, structure…enough to make you go insane. But, you eventually see your story, eventually. But, in all honesty, the fiction process just sucks, but the end result is keeping me going.
Can you share a few details about your projects, and where they will be available?
The Dark Cave Between My Ribs is out February 2014 via Winter Goose Publishing
Indie Authors Naked will be out January 15 through IndieReader Publishing
This Way to Forever…TBA
When does one become a writer? And when did you become a writer?
I’m still trying to become a writer. I don’t think you ever get there. You can only be in the game. Writing is a discipline. You’re always practicing. I just make sure I’m true to myself, in the sense that I write what’s in my gut. Writing first. Publishing later.