November 1, 2009

iScribe Interview Series - Badass in Chief

Name: Kate Stone
Major(s): English/Writing & Rhetoric
Year of Graduation: December 2009
Position: Editor in Chief

If you could spend one uninterrupted hour chatting with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I'd adore the opportunity to chat with Sandra Cisernos -- perhaps over sangria, or over the whiskey and cigars that so often appear in her fiercely wonderful poetry. Cisneros' Loose Woman changed not only the trajectory of my writing, but also a number of immeasurable facets of my everyday life -- from the strut I stomp out in too-high heels to the secret pride I savor in staying up too late and writing too much poetry, as detailed in Loose Woman's insomniac "Night Madness." I'd inquire for all the details of San Antonio, Mexico and her many pets. Perhaps during our chat, I'd uncomfortably sit on a personal secret: That my "Vitruvian Women," a poem featured in the Fall 2008 edition of The Independent Scribe, doubles as both an homage to my best friends and to her stunning, thoroughly feminine "Las Girlfriends." Would I tell her about it? Read it to her? I suppose I'll have to decide over sangria.

Same question, but out of The Independent Scribe's Fall 2009 lineup?
Dylan Thompson. Dylan is a lovely friend and peer I haven't had the opportunity to see in ages. I was floored -- no, scandalized (in the best way, of course) -- by his prose printed in the forthcoming edition of The Independent Scribe. I blushed numerous times while reading the piece aloud during a meeting, and I am by no means "a blusher." Rock on, Dylan Thompson. Make us all pink in the cheeks.

What excites you the most about good writing? What irks you the most about bad writing?
I don't believe in bad writing, I believe in writing that simply hasn't evolved or matured to its full potential yet. I once had a teacher that frequently quoted a mentor he deeply respected; upon reading a piece of writing that wasn't "good," this mentor energetically exclaimed "It is not lovely yet, but it soon will be!" I have faith in this ideology. I don't believe in bad writing, only writing that soon will be lovely -- with a bit of time, and a reasonable dose of dedication and energy.

What excites me about good writing? Risks. I love witnessing the courage of others, whether that courage be embodied in one's risque imagery, effective vulgarity, heart wrenching subject matter, unconventional structure or one's choice to "go public" by, say, submitting to a publication. Risks are exciting. Risks are good writing. Risks propel writing forward.

Political humorist Christopher Buckley often claims credit for great pieces of literature in his book jacket blurbs (he's being facetious...we hope). What piece of literature do you wish you had written?
Lolita. Who doesn't wish they'd written Lolita? Or Closely Watched Trains.

If you could spend one day in the life of a fictional character, who would it be? Why?
I would spend one day as Billy Prior, from Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy. Specifically, I'd live one of his days from The Eye in the Door. Prior's history, illness and sexuality are so fascinating; his attitude is nothing short of irresistible. He is an embodiment of my curiosity and I'd love to live his life, momentarily... not to mention how awesome it would be to strut about WWI England in a uniform! I think I'd look cute in one of those hats, no?

Scenario: You lost a bet and the person who won gets to take away all your books. But this person is feeling generous, and is letting you keep 5 of them. Which 5 are you keeping, and why?
  1. D.H. Lawrence's Birds, Beasts and Flowers. I open this book of poetry at least once a day.
  2. William Shakespeare's Complete Works. No life is complete without the jealousy of Othello, the quick tongue of Beatrice and the absolute absurdity that is Titus Andronicus.
  3. Peanuts. I've adored these comics since I was a kid.
  4. Dante's Vita Nuova. The first poem in this book is so gorgeously, frighteningly strange. I read it over and over, wishing someone would want to eat my heart!
  5. Stephen King's Salem's Lot. I just can't go on without vampires!

What pearl of wisdom do you wish you could impart on all young writers?
Read. Write and read, everything. Literature, newspapers, nutritional facts, sidewalk chalk. Keep reading. Keep writing.

In addition to The Independent Scribe, how do you stay involved with writing and the appreciation thereof?
I'm blessed to be in two majors that keep me 'in the loop:' Writing & Rhetoric and English Lit. I'm also blessed with two lovely roommates and a fabulous boyfriend who don't mind listening to the thoughts of my crazy poet mind nonstop. As much as I am a writer, I'm definitely a talker; I talk writing even more than I write writing!

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