TWD Magazine 4th Collection Interview: Alyssa Oursler — Poetry Contributor

The Wire's Dream Magazine Logo
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?
I think of creativity as trust. To create something, you have to trust yourself. You also have to trust your audience. I don’t believe in tips and tricks for creativity. They seem counterintuitive, given the topic.

How do you make time for your creativity? Are you an early bird creative or a night owl? Or something in between?
I’m not very good at mornings or schedules. I tend to get a lot of ideas on airplanes, which doesn’t really lend itself to routine.

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’m not sure if I’m too lazy to make things up or too fascinated by reality. Most of my creative work is personal. As Charlie Warzel of Buzzfeed once tweeted, “I like to ruin my life for content.” People (read: my mother) say I should just write fiction. Sometimes I say: Maybe I do. Other times I say: Listen. Look around. Isn’t this shit too good to ignore?

About Creative Moments & Inspiration

What is your most memorable creative moment, if any?

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?

What/who inspires you the most?
One summer, I listened to MacArthur Genius Teresita Fernandez’s commencement speech (as found on Brain Pickings) almost every morning. I was a freelance writer at the time and was both grateful for and totally overwhelmed by the lack of structure. As she put it, “the process of making art is like blindly trying to see the shape of what you don’t yet know. Whenever you catch a little a glimpse of that blind spot, of your ignorance, of your vulnerability, of that unknown, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to stare at it.” She also says art “is a fragile process of teaching oneself to work alone, and focusing on how to hone your quirky creative obsessions so that they eventually become so oddly specific that they can only be your own.” These words made the looseness of my days and projects feel productive and valuable.

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’m not sure I would call her undervalued, but all I want to do lately and always is read Maggie Nelson.

Tips For Others, Personal Goals

What tips would you give to those who have never published anything before?
Rack up as many rejections as possible.

What goals and/or aspirations do have for your creativity? Where would you like to see your work?
Books. All I want is the first book to hold in my hands so I can bury it and grow a better one.


About Alyssa

Alyssa Oursler is a journalist and essayist. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hobart, The East Bay Review, SF Weekly, and more. You can find her at and on Twitter: @alyssaoursler.

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