Hi Laura, It’s great connecting with you. Tell us about your work these days. What’s your daily writing regimen if any?
I don't set a daily writing quota for myself. When the writing comes, it comes from its own needs and on its own schedule. Uh, I will leave out my bowel movement metaphor...
What are your current sources of inspiration?
I still have the same source of inspiration: the need to fight against the waste and destructiveness all around us, and the urge to remind others of how we are all interconnected.
I really feel inspired listening to podcasts with folks who deeply care, who are invested and making a difference. I love the podcasts Crooked Media does – everyone should listen to This Land by Rebecca Nagle, about how the right wing is using Native children to reverse American Indian tribal rights to sovereignty. Also, I get soothed and calmed by Pádraig Ó Tuama and On Being's Poetry Unbound. And there’s Amicus with Dahlia Lithwick, Law, Justice and the Courts – I want to know what's going on, and they unpack it. When I listen to these folks, deeply involved in the struggle, it becomes very hard to get sucked into some capitalistic social-media directive.
How do you stay connected with your readers?
My principal connection to readers is through my website and social media. I do Zoom readings, but there is nothing like a live event – although it is hard to spend as much time with each person as I'd like. In response to demand, I am thinking of starting a small writers’ group, that is a way to have sustained connection with other creators.
What is clear is that, to be part of a felt community in a socially just, spiritually fulfilling, environmentally sustainable world, you first have to move out of shame and release fear. Then you can show up in faith and be present to the world.
Have you learned anything that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for these crazy times?
I've learned that no matter how crazy the times may get, they can be made even crazier by the egotism and apathy and ignorance of others.
What is included in your list of go-to books and writers whose work you adore?
There is an array of writers whose work inspires me – to list them all would be overwhelming and a disservice to others. I want to boost everyone's signal.
Where are you now: mentally, physically, spiritually? Where are you headed to?
Right now, I'm recovering from surgery on my right hand and slowly regaining its use again. Getting back to full and easy function is where I'm heading.
Is there anything that you see as essential to stay relevant and in touch with what’s going on around you and in the world?
For me the essential thing is to remain open and available to others. At one time it was very difficult for me to do so in my own body. It still isn't easy, but the rewards from doing it always reveal more. And that allows me to be all the more present.
It's critical to know we are often a mystery to ourselves, but it is important not to turn away. To quote my mentor David Milch, "You know, people say that my writing is dark. And for me it's quite the opposite. It sees light in darkness and it doesn't try to distort darkness. The essential thing is that the seeing itself is joyful."
We have an ongoing campaign titled #BeatTheBlues dealing with ways to prioritize mental health. What do you do to #BeatTheBlues?
Working out physically is essential to breaking the hold of limiting thoughts and feelings, and as a person who is differently abled, it took me a long time to find what works. I am happier off social media, as I think studies show most people are. When I am in dialogue with people and being buoyed by their affection and intelligence, and can give to them as well, got no space for the blues.
Whose voices and stories make your heart jump?
I have cardiac arrhythmia, so my heart does that naturally.
Share with us a moment that made you smile today.
Knowing I'd be able to share this Q&A with your readers gave me a reason to grin, because I adore HocTok and anyone reading this is rad.
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