How did you become a writer? I was a terrible talker. I was shy and quiet in part because I was accustomed to getting slapped across the face if I said the wrong thing. So I thought, well, I'll write. And I found that a much less stressful way to organize my thoughts. Later, as a teenager, I became a traveler and we wrote letters in those days. It was expensive international phone calls or letters if you wanted to keep your intimate friendships across the miles so, again, I thought, I'll write.
Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.). Maya Angelou and Ntozake Shange were big for me when I was first learning to see myself as a writer. Muriel Rukeyser. Diane Di Prima. Those were the early writers who showed me that writing wasn't just for men in tweed coats.
When and where do you write? I write in the laundromat. Literally. But also in all the laundromats of life. I am a woman. I am a mother. I am the breadwinner for my family. I don't have a room of my own. So I write when and where I can.
What are you working on now? I'm promoting my new memoir, The End of Eve, a dark comedy about taking care of my crazy, beautiful mother when she dying of lung cancer. So I'm on tour.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? I wouldn't call it writer's block. Sometimes my brain is cluttered with other things. Sometimes my time is consumed with better-paying work or I get a repetitive strain injury writing someone else's stuff and I can't write my own then.
What’s your advice to new writers? Keep your overhead low. Being a writer is feast or famine and a lot of time it's famine so you want to keep your credit card bills and rent or mortgage and all the rest of it low so you have time. What you need is time. You don't need a room of your own or anyone else to take care of you, but like Gertrude Stein says it take a lot of loafing to write a book and you need time to loaf and if you have to work 24-7 it's tricky.
Ariel Gore is the editor and publisher of Hip Mama. Her latest book, The End of Eve (Hawthorne Books), is also, she thinks, her best and most vulnerable.