TWD Magazine 4th Collection Interview: Lorraine Wilson — Poetry Contributor

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As an extension of The Black Lion Journal’s mission, The Wire’s Dream is a semi-annual magazine that values community, life perspectives, and different worldviews. Contributors were asked to complete a set of mini interview questions with the purpose of sharing with the readers and their fellow submitters a bit about who they are and about their creativity. All questions were the same for each contributor; and each answer given is unique, open, friendly, and candid.

About The Creative Process

What does creativity mean to you? And what does it mean to be creative?
For me, creativity offers two things: It is a means of expressing inner selves in a way that (hopefully) resonates with others. Take grief, for example, it is a universal and powerful experience, and it can be a very lonely one. If my writing can reflect those feelings in a reader then perhaps they will feel less alone, more understood, and perhaps this will help, in some small way. Creativity can also be less of a mirror and more of a window. Can I, with my experiences and world view, show something to someone else that changes their perceptions? Can I cause them to see other perspectives, to understand the experiences of others a little better. In today’s political and social climate, I spend a lot of time thinking about this, about the extent of responsibility and ability that creators possess to make the world a kinder place. I don’t have the answer, but I do believe it warrants thought.

How do you make time for your creativity? Are you an early bird creative or a night owl? Or something in between?
I suffer from a chronic illness which means I have been unable to work for the past few years. I am lucky in that writing is something I can fit in between my child’s needs and my health – effectively this means I tend to write between about 11 and 3 on weekdays.

How much of your personal life and experiences shape who you are as a creative and as a person? Do you find that you draw much content from your experiences or have you worked to keep that separate from what you create?
I think all of my experiences feed into my writing somehow, often indirectly, actually more often indirectly than directly. Up until a few years ago, I was a research scientist, working on conservation and behavioural ecology of a range of animals including song birds, mammalian carnivores, marine mammals and bats. This work took me to all sorts of ridiculously remote places and gave me a deep sense of wonder and love for the natural world. Both this emotional connection and my scientific knowledge are definitely apparent in a lot of my writing (and my husband, another scientist, picks me up on any facts I get wrong!). In terms of more human-based personal experiences, I think it’s emotions that feed into my writing, more than particular events. I hope it is anyway! I don’t want to write direct mirrors of my own history, partly because I wouldn’t want friends and family to see themselves lightly fictionalised. But also, I feel that if I write about only my direct experiences, I risk my stories becoming narrower. Perhaps that’s not true, but I’d rather reach out into the world for my stories than see only myself in them.

About Creative Moments & Inspiration

What is your most memorable creative moment, if any?
Oh gosh, I don’t know. I suppose it was that first moment of realising I could make the switch from writing scientifically to writing creatively. Or perhaps the first time a reader said to me, ‘Thank-you for writing this, it helped me.’ I did have a little weep at that!

Do you cross genres for inspiration? Which ones?
Ex: If you're a fiction writer, do you read and practice poetry? Do you also dabble in art?

I write fiction and creative non-fiction and I think they meet in the middle (the middle being me), where on the one hand is my world view feeding into stories, and on the other is my experiences being expressed with a touch of wonder.

What/who inspires you the most?
Margaret Atwood, for my writing. She melds crazy storylines, stunningly beautiful prose, and powerful political messages into her stories in a way I can only aspire to. In my personal life, my gran. She was just the strongest, most incredible woman. She went from poorhouse to orphanage; she was a household servant, then a nurse during the blitz. She then established nursing/midwifery services in remote areas of Zambia, and finally became Matron of a teaching hospital. She was damaged and brave and the most ridiculously stubborn woman you could ever meet! Also, very, very good at scrabble.

Are there any contemporary writers/artists that you admire and think should be on everyone’s radar?
(Who do you think has been undervalued?)

I think a lot of YA writers are dismissed by adult readers (and writers of adult lit) as being shallow and full of nothing but vampires and angst. But there are YA authors out there writing searing stories from non-western viewpoints that are full of depth and beauty. Women like Intisar Khanini, S.A. Chakraborty, Lila Bowen, Sabaa Tahir, and many others. I was also surprised how little impact Angie Thomas’ The Hate You Give made in the UK compared to in the US. It should be on everyone’s reading list.

Tips For Others, Personal Goals

What tips would you give to those who have never published anything before?
Edit again. Get beta readers you trust. Edit again.

What goals and/or aspirations do have for your creativity? Where would you like to see your work?
I would love to walk into my local (indie) bookshop and see my book on the shelf. That would be sublime. I would be over the moon to have readers say that my stories meant something to them, where-ever those stories were published.


About Lorraine

Having spent many years working in remote corners of the world, Lorraine Wilson now lives by the sea in Scotland and write stories that are touched by folklore and the wilderness. Wilson has had short stories published in anthologies and magazines, and tweets @raine_clouds about science, writing, cats, and weirdnesses.

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