Featured Author: Isabelle Wedin
Why do you write? What purpose does writing serve for you currently?
For most of my life, writing was an extension of my depression; I could only write when I was at my lowest. It was how I ripped the emptiness out of my body. It was exhausting.
I’ve had other, better emotions this past year, and learning to live them and express them has been my biggest project. I used to think I knew what it was like to feel happy or loved or sexy or connected, and I thought those feelings weren't worth writing about. On the other side, sadness and anger are much more distinct for me now, and they're rich and textured but crisp and pure, like good gin. Sometimes I even feel normal. How do you write about that?
So that's where I am right now. Still groping, but enjoying it more, and that's what it's for.
How do you usually start a poem, story, etc?
Sometimes when I'm walking the dog or commuting, a thought will stick out, usually for its rhythm or just because it's a little weird, and I'll try to spin that out into something worthwhile.
Other times a metaphor will loop in my head until it starts to feel like a complete idea all on its own. Then I'm just writing it down, taking dictation.
How do you know when a piece is finished?
The first draft is done when I run out of things to say, but a piece is only really finished once my wife Maria is tired of helping me edit. Actually, I tend to inflict myself upon her several times for each one and do a lot of rewriting in between. No one else sees it until I'm no longer embarrassed by it.
What writers/artists are influencing you right now?
James Tate had this direct voice, a way of using plain, bare language to make you believe impossible things. That's always with me. I cried when I heard he'd passed.
I'm also blown away by everything Rebecca Sugar does. I want to make other people feel the way she makes me feel.
Julia Serano is an inspiration to me more generally. If I’m lucky, some of that comes through.
What do you want people to know about your work?
Every piece feels like a part of me when I start, but like some other entity with its own identity by the time it's done, so I don't have a lot to say about them. I hope they can speak for themselves.
What question do you wish I asked you?
The obvious thing would be something about my gender, my transness.
There seems to be a consensus forming that “trans poetry” must be radical, or else it’s deemed reductive, but I don’t think I have a place in that regime. (This isn’t very different from my awkward, longing relationship with queer culture in general.) I’d like to write poetry about being trans, but there isn’t much of a place or a precedent for doing it in a way I’d feel comfortable sharing. I’m basically just waiting for the day when I’m “ugh, so over it” already like everyone else.