…with Katherine MacCue

Ariana:

What can you tell us about your upcoming book?

Katherine:

To be honest, my intentions were to create a book filled with poems about women, really, because aren’t we fascinating? I mean that genuinely. We live in a world that in many ways hates us, and we survive and many of us do better than survive, we live!

Ariana:

Name one of your favorite things about someone in your family.

Katherine:

I am going to amend this question a bit and answer it like this: I love how easily my brothers and I get along when we’re together. We are very close, they are sweet lads, all grown ups now are we, and we don’t know what the heck to do about it other than to smoke reds and pay rent, my older brother edits, my younger works from 5 till 9pm for his friend’s contracting firm, and I am in good health which means I am heading back towards a job, as I took a year and half off to write. We like to do impressions of each other when the other is missing. They are protective of me (do I sound like I’m a member of the Sopranos’ family? Don’t mess wit’ ma bruddas) alas, we’re not Italian, quite Irish, fighting Irish! But if you met them they’d do the opposite, shake your hand, test your sense of humor which you’d pass naturally, and invite you out for a drink.

Ariana:

If someone made a movie of your life, what genre would it be and why?

Katherine:

If someone made a movie of my life, it would be a comedy, because everything eventually gets turned into a funny anecdote in my life. And it balances out the over sincerity, the over analytical behavior that gets me into trouble! My friends and I make each other laugh, even if we’re across continents. I do have a nickname, it’s “Sincere Katherine,” so I need the humor, I need as much of it as I can get. Plus, laughing is so good for you, it releases serotonin and relaxes you and belly laughter is really such a great feeling. Joni Mitchell, (oh look at me, quoting Joni) has that quote, “laughing and crying, it’s the same release.” It’s true, but I try to focus on the laughter. I try to just be me and live as honestly as possible and without pretension, hopefully my poems will continue the same way…

Ariana:

What cultural value do you see in writing poetry?

Katherine:

Poetry is not valued highly enough in our culture in my opinion. Ha, I think every poet feels that way. Actually, like a secret door or a bookshelf that, when pushed, opens up into a room decorated with all kinds of wild animal skins, poetry finds you; like any other great art form it can save your life. I swear though, everyone has if not a favorite poet, at least a favorite poem, and that poem is important to them for reasons deeper than we know.

Ariana:

What was the hardest part of writing No Timid Electra?

Katherine:

Oh, the hardest part was not so much the writing, that was a joy, even if you, the reader, after reading, decide you don’t like my poems or get how they connect to the complex and the myth, or think that it’s too ambitious or sill. The hardest part was actually in the editing process. It was my first book. I had to learn how to communicate, how to edit the work under a schedule while also working on other things, how to be prepared, and how to be creative at the same time be professional about it. In the end I learned a lot and No Timid Electra is out there for the world to read.

Ariana:

Are there misconceptions about No Timid Electra?

Katherine:

I’ll just clarify things and say that the title refers to the Jungian Electra Complex, not the Freudian Complex. I revive it because it allows me to tell the story of women who are perhaps a bit in the dark, but who go on in pain, because as John Berger said in Lilac and Flag, “we women, rivers of pain and relief.” How else to articulate it? The book can move as one woman’s story towards the fundamental theory of the Electra Complex, which is the integration of the female and male counterpart which makes us whole, both parts known as the anima and animus. The book can work that way, though the poems are not always in first person, but they can function as individual stories, too. It’s important to say I DO NOT believe in Freud’s theory that girls are sexually attracted to their fathers, or that they compete with their mothers for their father’s affection. The title is also a reference to the mythological Greek Princess Electra which the wonderful foreword written by my doctor, which some may find strange, but I am so touched by, also points out. Of course it is an anomaly to call her timid but that all lies in who she is really serving by murdering her mother.

Ariana:

Do you dance around the room crazy when no one is looking?

Katherine:

Oh Gosh, of course! I think the thing I do along with the crazy dancing that I wish I was better at would be the singing! I mean, the two at the same time are not meant to be seen by anyone, but just experienced, like a tribal release.

Ariana:

If someone wrote a biography, what would the title be and why?

Katherine:

The title, I would have to take from Fiona Apple’s 2006 Album, Extraordinary Machine. To come up with my own? She Lived among the Living. I swear I’ve heard that before, though…when I’m writing lyrics for Fiona I’ll ask if I can borrow that title track. I don’t think she needs a lyricist, though. That girl keeps moving. Same goes for me. On a more low-budget low-key way, without the sick vocal chords.

Ariana:

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

Katherine:

I’ve gone, I guess, a year, without writing? If I don’t want to write, I won’t. But if I feel how I am feeling now, the need to write everyday, I drink lots of coffee. Though I cant drink anymore past noon, really.

Ariana:

What technology couldn’t you live without,

Katherine:

My computer. All of my poems are there. How precarious. How foolish. I have a thumb drive, though. So, I’m OK. I could live without my phone. I am not a phone conversation gal.

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