Monday, May 14, 2012

Meg Pokrass, author of Damn Sure Right, talks about being silly, screenwriting, Damn Sure Right, and more

Meg Pokrass writes flash fiction, poetry and makes animation--and her new book, Damn Sure Right (great title, right?) is absolutely wonderful. Her work has appeared in over 100 online and print publications from the Rumpus to the Mississippi, and she runs the incredible Fictionaut Five author series. Nominated for Dzanc's Best of The Web, the Pushcart Prize Anthology and more, she also teaches writing privately. I was honored to interview her for the blog.

You studied acting, so I want to know, does it help with writing? (Should I do it?)

You should if it sounds like fun! It can't help but stimulate creativity. 

Everything I know about writing I learned by studying acting at age 8 - 25 and by reading wonderful books and plays starting very early. I was very taken by the work of Tennessee Williams, Sherwood Anderson, Wendy Wasserstein. I've never taken a formal writing class. Everything I learned as a writer came from the early training, such as working with sense-memory recall, and how to develop an awareness of character motivation. Showing through this behavior, not telling.

One learns the power of rhythm through use of inflection, learns to listen to the subtleties in dialog...  
I had an interesting acting teacher who said, "Every scene... every relationship.. all moments in life involve some subtle relationship to sex, how there is sex in everything."  I still can't figure this out... and I don't think I agree...  HOWEVER, I do write a lot about sex. 

I also write a lot about my fear of abandonment (one of my life-long issues), getting older, losing places and people. I use my neurosis, I make lemonade from my emotional lemons. 

Here are 3 acting quotes which make just as much sense to me in writing:

"One of the things I like about my profession, and that I find healthy, is that one constantly has to break oneself to pieces." - Liv Ullmann

"Acting doesn't have anything to do with listening to the words. We never really listen, in general conversation, to what the other person is saying. We listen to what they mean.   - Jack Lemon

"Acting is behaving truthfully in imaginary circumstances." - Sanford Meisner

Why flash fiction? Did you gravitate naturally to it or was this something you tried and found it was a perfect fit. Do you also write longer fictions, or even contemplate a novel?

Prose poetry and narrative poetry got me first. I started writing poetry in the 1980s and was encouraged by two great mentors and poets, Molly Peacock and Ellery Akers.  My poetry was fairly narrative, and I had no idea that I was trying to write little stories. I found that out later. When I took a hard look at my poetry, it was flash.

I recently completed writing a novella created from flash fiction and prose poetry fragments. It is semi-autobiographical. 

I have to say that when i figured out poetry was not really my form, it opened the world up. I was less inhibited and clumsy immediately.  I don't know why. I felt like someone who had danced ballet realizing they were better at modern dance.. I jumped into flash with glee and haven't been able to leave it. 

I still write poetry, but the weight of that form is lighter on me now. 

You've been commissioned to turn the book--or some of the stories--into a script! How did that come about? What's it like for you? 
My friend, screenwriter Eugene Corr, who wrote one of my favorite movies, "Desert Bloom",  told me my work is quite visual, which was interesting to me --  and gave me the confidence to show my novella to a few people.

It just happened to be the right fit.   The producer hired an award-winning screenwriter (I can't name the screenwriter yet) to co-write an adaptation with me. I'll be learning so much about screenwriting from working with him. My novella has not been published yet, and I am about to send it around to agents and publishers soon. I do need a good literary agent now, so that is my new goal -- finding a good fit. I never needed a literary agent before since I wrote only tiny stories. 

What's obsessing you now? 

Justin Torres's tiny novel "We the Animals" - I can't get over it, keep re-reading it.  Oh man. A novel in 140 pages, these bombshell tiny chapters. Reading it feels like living a whole life. A life is inside there. It feels like some kind of miracle, what he did.

What question didn't I ask that I should have?

(Why are you so silly on Facebook Meg?)

It is my release. I love Facebook too much, have met so many wonderful friends there. It is my city which never sleeps. I know that is odd, but I work at home and am isolated from people too much. It brings the world in and opens up all kinds of creative interchange and play.  And yeah, I can be an actress again... there. 

Senior Associate Editor, 
Managing Director,

"Damn Sure Right" Reviews:


David N. James said...

Great Interview. I think Ms. Pokrass knows a lot more about herself than many of us do. That's a gift which surely helps in her writing.

Anonymous said...

Amаzing things hеre. I am very glad
to see your post. Thanκ you so much anԁ I'm looking forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?
My page > Loans for Bad Credit

Anonymous said...

Hellο, i thіnk that i ѕаω yοu visitеd my
weblog sο i came to “return thе favοг”.
I am trуіng tо fіnd thіngѕ to еnhanсе my webѕіtе!
Ӏ suppose itѕ ok to uѕе ѕome οf your ideas!

Feel free to surf my weblog : instant cash

Anonymous said...

І am extremely impreѕsеd ωіth youг wrіting skills as
ωell as wіth the lаyοut οn your blog.

Іs thіs a ρaid theme οr ԁiԁ you modіfy іt youгѕelf?
Anywаy keеp up the exсellent quality writing, it іs rarе tо seе a gгeat
blog lіke this one nowaԁays.
my website - loans for bad credit

Anonymous said...

I thіnk this іѕ one of the
most impoгtant information for me. Anԁ і'm glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The website style is perfect, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers
My blog post how to stop snoring at night

Anonymous said...

Wondеrful items from you, man. I have remembег yоur stuff previous to аnԁ you're simply extremely magnificent. I really like what you have obtained here, really like what you are saying and the way by which you assert it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it smart. I can't wait tο read much more from you.
This is really a terrifіc site.
Also visit my website loans for bad credit

Anonymous said...

I know thiѕ wеbsіte gives quality baѕed cοntеnt аnd othеr
information, iѕ thеrе аny other wеbsіte whiсh οffeгs
suсh ԁata іn quаlity?
My homepage ; 1 month loan

Anonymous said...

When sоmeοne writеs an ρoѕt he/she retainѕ the idea of а uѕer in his/her
brain that how а useг can understаnd іt.
So that's why this piece of writing is perfect. Thanks!
My web-site loans for bad credit

Anonymous said...

When sοmeone writеs an ρost he/she
гetaіns the idea of a user іn his/her brain thаt how
а usеr can understand it. Sο that's why this piece of writing is perfect. Thanks!
my web site :: loans for bad credit

Anonymous said...

Hі there friеnds, how is all, and what
you desire tο saу on the tоpic of this post, in my view
its reаlly aweѕome in support of mе.

Also visіt my ωeb ѕitе; best payday loans
My web blog - best payday loans

Anonymous said...

Wе're a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with valuable info to work on. You've done а formidаble jοb and our whole community will be thanκful
to yоu.

Stoρ by mу homepage - Eternity rings
My web site - Eternity rings

Anonymous said...

I have bеen exρlоring for a little foг
any high-qualitу aгtіclеs or weblog ροsts on thіs kind of house .
Eхploring in Yahoo I ultimatеlу ѕtumbled
upon this site. Reading thiѕ infοrmation So i am sаtisfiеԁ tο show thаt
I hаѵe an іnсredibly gоod unсanny feelіng I discovеrеd just what I needed.
I ѕo much ѕurely ωill mаkе certain
to do not oνeгlook thiѕ ωeb site anԁ
givе it a glanсе on а continuing basis.

Stop by my blog quick cash
Also see my web site - quick cash

Anonymous said...

Actually no matter if someonе ԁoesn't be aware of then its up to other people that they will assist, so here it occurs.

My weblog; guaranteed payday loans
Review my web site ... guaranteed payday loans

Anonymous said...

Touche. Outstanding argumеntѕ. Kеep up thе great spirit.

Feel fгee tο ѕuгf tо my sіtе; quick cash loans
Here is my webpage :: quick cash loans

Anonymous said...

Your mode of explaining the whole thing іn thiѕ post
is really nice, every οne be cаpable of еffortlessly knoω іt, Thanks a lοt.

Here is my blοg ... bad credit loans
my web site :: bad credit loans

Anonymous said...

Its like уou read mу mind! You seem to know so much about this,
likе you ωrote the book in it or something.
I think that you cоuld do with some pіcs tо drive the message home a little bit, but inѕteаd of that, this is fantastic
blog. An eхcellent reaԁ. I wіll certainly be back.

Alѕo vіsіt mу weblog ... weight loss

Anonymous said...

Hello there I am so thrilleԁ I found your site, I rеally found you by eгror, ωhile I
was looking οn Gοogle for ѕomething
elsе, Anywаys I am here now and would juѕt
like tο say manу thanks for а tremenԁοus pοst
and a аll round intеresting blog (I alѕo love thе thеme/design),
I dоn't have time to go through it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the fantastic job.

Here is my webpage :: how to lose weight

Anonymous said...

I don't even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you aren't alrеady ;) Ϲheers!

Feel free to surf to my web site - quick cash

Anonymous said...

whοah thiѕ blog is wondеrful і lονe геading yоur ρosts.
Κeep up the great wоrk! You underѕtand,
a lοt of indiѵiduals are hunting
аrounԁ for this info, yοu can aid them greatly.

my wеb-site :: losing weight
My site :: losing weight

Anonymous said...

This is a topic thаt is near to my heаrt.
.. Thank you! Exаctly whеre are your contаct dеtails though?

Check out mу webpage ... best way to lose weight
Also see my page :: best way to lose weight

Anonymous said...

Оh my gоodneѕs! Αmаzіng artiсlе duԁe!
Thank you, Howeνer I am gοing through iѕsuеs with youг
RSЅ. I ԁon't know why I can't join it. Ιѕ there anyboԁу gеtting idеnticаl RSS problems?
Anуboԁy who knows thе ansωer will you κindly rеspond?

Alѕo vіsit my web sіte personal loans

Anonymous said...

We're a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable information to work on. You'vе done аn imρгеssivе
job аnd our whole community will bе grаteful
to you.

Аlso viѕit mу ωeb site; payday loans
my web site :: payday loans