…with Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

Ariana:

How did you come up with the title EveryHerDies in relation to the theme of the collection?

Jennifer:

I liked the Her and Herd meshing together.  For me, I always wanted this chap to be female centric, so I liked the blatant word play reminding us that the “her”s  are part of a herd as well, and well, we all face death eventually.

Ariana:

Do you have any special projects you’re working on right now?

Jennifer:

I am revising one collection that is loosely based on the relationship of twin sisters (though I am sort of waiting on some feedback before pursuing these pieces, 🙂 and the other project that I am working on is this group of poems loosely inspired by the idea of Joan of Arc coming back from the dead. Though I have written a bunch of pieces with her being alive too- though the scenes and her point of view are unique to the voice I am giving her. She is sort of pissed off.  Every once in a while I try to assemble my work in a full length manuscript. Then I stop.

Ariana:

You’ve published a lot of other books in different genres. What turns you on about poetry?

Jennifer:

I love poetry because I can be creative without worrying about having to write thirty pages!  A girlfriend of mine just took a workshop on “The Long Poem” and I think that would be a nice challenge for me.  Plus, when you have children, it is nice to be able to write in short bursts.

Ariana:

Singing in the rain or dancing in the streets? Either way, what’s the theme song?

Jennifer:

Get out of my dreams and into my car. That is for my friend Alex.

Ariana:

What drew you into writing a collection with a unique theme?

Jennifer:

I had just written a poem loosely based on the idea of a girl walking into the woods and turning into a wild animal-(first it was called “farm morning,” and then it was changed to “hirsute,”) so at the time I had those words/ feelings in my head. Once my father told me that he found two antlers in his backyard, (He lives in MI where there are some cases of EHD,) I got really excited and asked him to mail them to me.  When I was poking around the internet reading about deer, I came across info on EHD.  I could not believe that this disease actually existed- basically turning deer into zombies and bleeding to death, and then the second thought was that no one seemed to really care.  Hunters made comments to each other about it on message boards, like it was just a regular everyday thing and you can still eat the meat, etc. Then when I began writing the poems a very simple theme emerged for me: We put up fences, things get in anyway.

Ariana:

What is your favorite adjective? Why?

Jennifer:

I am going to put “slicing” down here since that is one word that I am using throughout my Joan poems. 🙂

Ariana:

Do you feel you achieved your goal in writing EveryHerDies?

Jennifer:

I do! I am very happy with it!  Thank *you* for publishing it!

Ariana:

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?

Jennifer:

My most useful mindset in learning to write is try anything. Play around. There are no mistakes. Or if there are, you’ll figure that out later and work on it then.  There is nothing more paralyzing than being afraid to make a mistake on paper. I also think John Cleese said that in relation to comedy recently, but it is true! (maybe about any field…except surgery, construction, or being a pilot,) JUST THOSE THREE.  And then the reverse of that question for me has to do with criticism- I think if work is harshly criticized in it’s infant stage, that can be crippling. I am all about spreading the love. 🙂

Ariana:

Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you get through it?

Jennifer:

I read something once that really struck a chord with me- It was: writers block is just your body’s way of telling you that it isn’t ready to write what you want it to write.  So if I am trying to force myself to write something and it’s just not flowing, I stop with that subject and ask myself, (now that I’ve established that there are two of me, 🙂  (well okay then, what do you want to write?) and then very often something else comes to the surface…Once I do that, I then usually find the inspiration I needed for the other thing- maybe it is in a different form, or I opened a new door to get at it, but it presents itself.

Ariana:

If you were written about in the newspaper, on the front page, what would the headline say?

Jennifer:

Writer won lotto.  Or I could save someone from drowning? Though I think it is best to not grab attention from doing good deeds. 🙂

 

%d bloggers like this: