Next week on October 2nd at 7:30 p.m. in BC 163 creative writer Anna Keesey will be reading and lecturing on her newest book Little Century. Anna Keesey graduated from Stanford University and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She has multiple publications in journals and anthologies and is also the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts of Creative Writing Fellowship. Currently Keesey teaches English and creative writing at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. In preparation for her visit we have asked her some questions about her past and her writing process. Here’s what she said:
Q: When did your interest in creative writing begin? How did you cultivate it throughout your life?
A: I was always interested in words, language, and reading, which might as well be an interest in writing. I mean, I read like crazy. Anything, everything. We lived in the country, near Dallas, Oregon, and we had this very tiny black and white television that got maybe three channels, and so—though I sometimes got to watch Star Trek or The Man from U.N.C.LE–I had usually had only two choices of activities—bum around outside with my little brother, or read. I did both, a lot. I read all the OZ books, and every Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys and Cherry Ames, and all the books by Zilpha Snyder and Lloyd Alexander and Laura Ingalls Wilder and Marguerite Henry and Frances Hodgson Burnett and Elizabeth George Speare, and on and on.
I didn’t really write anything that I can remember until the sixth grade. My girlfriends and I decided to have a story contest. We each entered a story. Then we judged them. I wrote a very long one about a pioneer girl with a dog called Hambone. Since my story was the longest, we all decided it was the best. So basically I wrote a story, entered it in a contest I had started, and selected my own story to win. It was all very convenient.
Later, when I was in college, I majored in English with an emphasis in creative writing, and I had the luck of having a very good teacher, Katharine Andres, who was very young and smart and sort of shy, but who recognized in me—though I was sloppy and distracted most of the time—the kind of mind a writer has. She encouraged me in the gentlest of ways. After college I taught high school English for a while, then went to a master’s program in writing, where I was again taught by great people. It speaks to your third question—can writing be taught? I wasn’t exactly taught—one has to teach oneself—but I was encouraged, and the kind of teaching I received cultivated in me the capacity to teach myself.
[Read more…] about Anna Keesey, “Circular” Writer