3Ws – Anne Korkeakivi

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What do you create?

As a novelist, as well as an occasional nonfictionist of essays and articles, I strive to create conversations–between myself and my readers, my readers and each other, myself and the world. I construct journeys also, both metaphorically and geographically. I’m an expat writer and inveterate traveler, and my work tends to follow suit: my first novel, An Unexpected Guest, was set in Paris, also Dublin and Boston; my new novel, Shining Sea, opens in Southern California and travels to the remote Hebrides islands off the western coast of Scotland and back, with many stops in between.

You could say that, as a writer of literary fiction, I create worlds also. Certainly, that’s how they feel to me. My characters become very real to me; I launch them into existence and then they take over.

 

 

Why do you create?

Honestly? Compulsion. I can’t imagine living in any other way. Even as the tiniest girl I was making up stories—continuing ones too, like little novels in my head. I’d lie in my bed at night while the rest of the house was asleep, letting them flit through my head like shadows across the ceiling.

 

 

What do you consume?

The New York Times daily, Le Nouvel Observateur weekly, also The Guardian, Literary Hub, and Electric Literature. My Twitter feed. Literary fiction, especially from the US, UK, Ireland, France, and anywhere in Africa. Nonfiction about armed or societal conflict. Poetry, currently by some wonderful women poets—for example, Warsan Shire, Erin Hollowell, Claudia Rankine, and Maggie Smith–but also unfailingly Yeats. Ancient Greek myths, which I know backwards and forwards but of which I can never get enough. A lot of visual art, particularly modern and contemporary. Music. Foreign landscapes, people, and cultures. Nature, in large, desperate gulps. And pomegranate. I might just be addicted to pomegranate seeds.

 

Links

 

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3Ws – Louise Miller

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What do you create?

By day, I create desserts, and by night I create novels that I hope are funny and true.
 

Why do you create?

I have always turned to writing to figure the world (and myself) out. As a kid my diary was my lifeline—I didn’t understand how I was feeling unless I wrote it down. As an adult, I find writing fiction to be a wonderful way to explore questions I have without having to upend my life. The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living was inspired in part by my wrestling with the question would I be happy living in the country? I have always had a longing to live someplace rural, to have goats and sheep and a dozen dogs, to have some land and to know it well. At the same time I live a very happy city life, full of theater and art and food and people from all over the world. I am perfectly divided. Writing The City Baker, which is set in northern Vermont, gave me the chance to dream about making that move, and to consider the ups and downs of it. But the simplest answer to the question why do I write is that I like to make people laugh. Which is pretty similar to why do I bake. I like making people happy. Sweets and a good story are some things that make people happy, and I get to provide that happiness. Satisfying work all around.
 

What do you consume?

Stories in every form. Novels, of course. But I am also a movie junkie. I love to be in a darkened theater with a bucket of popcorn. I believe movies should be seen on a big screen whenever possible. I’m lucky to live near a wonderful independent movie theater that shows smaller-budget movies, foreign films and old-time classics. Plus they have real butter. And then there are plays! My partner and I subscribe to two theaters in Boston, and we travel to New York frequently to see plays and to eat. And I can’t forget television—there is so much good storytelling happening on TV right now. Add several podcasts to the mix, and you can see that I’m a little story-obsessed.

 

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3Ws – Kate Billingsley

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What do you create?

I’m a trilingual improv artist, performing in the U.S.—New York and Baltimore, Paris, France, and Seville, Spain, with my solo show CommuniKate:ArtAlive! The show focuses on artists, mostly Impressionists, whom I love and whom I want audiences to know and appreciate as well.

Things I’ve learned on the trilingual circuit: Clowning and physical comedy are a must for getting the character across, and in France my clown has to be quite cruel and haughty to get a laugh, while in Spain the clown is much louder and melodramatic with lots of singing and gestures, which suits audiences there. Also, European improv is performed in a smaller, more intimate café-style venue than here, where you disappear into the wings after a show, so you have to not be afraid to be right on top of your audience, feed off of them: they’re learning you, as you’re learning how to improv in their language. It’s super-gratifying.

 

 

Why do you create?

CommuniKate was borne out of me wanting to get back to France after living there for three-and-a-half years. I was lucky to find the perfect director, Mike Harris, executive creative director of BIG, the Baltimore Improv Group, to help me create this blend of traditional theater with improv and take it on the road.

 

 

What do you consume?

Chocolate, despite my best intentions. I LOVE the movie Before Sunrise to transport me elsewhere. My friend Esther Garboni’s Spanish poetry is amazing. I binge-watched UnReal, the Lifetime drama about reality television that has really textured female characters. I like to watch an episode of Amy Poehler’s podcast, Smart Girls at the Party, before I go to bed. She interviews “ women who are changing the world by being themselves.” It helps me nurture my weird.

 

Links

 Baltimore Improv Festival: http://www.baltimoreimprovfestival.org/performers/#communiKate (Monday, July 25th at 7:30 PM)

 

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3Ws – Caroline Angell

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What do you create?

As a writer and a director, I do my best to create characters by fully exploring the complexity of their emotional lives. My favorite living writer is Elizabeth Strout; I had the chance to hear her speak recently, and she talked about how fiction offers an opportunity to extend our empathy. I agree, and my goal is to create a world to explore my own “what if,” and provide a chance for a reader (or a viewer) to say “what would I do if…?”

Also, I like to create silly, rhyming songs for kids. Just, like, in my regular life. I never write them down, though, because they’re rarely funny to anyone except me and the kid.

 

 

Why do you create?

I’m an avid reader, and one of my favorite feelings is to be completely sucked into someone else’s world. When I read something that gives voice to a feeling I’ve had and maybe not had my own words for or understood fully, it makes me feel connected. It helps me understand myself better. It makes me want to try and understand the people around me better. I think a large part of the reason that I write is to be part of that circle; to explore the things that cross my mind, that I wrestle with, in the hope that someone else might feel connected by my words.

 

 

What do you consume?

Old episodes of Friends. Quality time with people I love. Fiction, especially by lady writers. Matzoh ball soup from the 2nd Avenue Deli (I’m pretty sure I’m keeping them in business). Lots of caffeine, in many forms. And libraries. I might actually be addicted to libraries.

 

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3Ws – Matthew Norman

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What do you create?

Literary comedies with some seriousness woven in. You may be asking yourself, Aren’t those called dramedies? Probably, but, I hate that word, so, no. I also write a lot of short essays about parenthood and marriage. And I write letters to Bono sometimes.

 

 

Why do you create?

This is a good question—one I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. Anyone who writes knows that writing is never easy, but, for me, it was a hell of a lot easier when I was younger. I had boundless energy, virtually no responsibilities or distractions, and I was still naïve enough to think that I had things to say that absolutely needed to be said. Now, as a full-fledged adult, I write because it’s what I am physically and emotionally conditioned to do. When I skip a day, I’m restless and moody. When I skip several days I’m overwhelmed with guilt and impossible to be around. Plus, sometimes, when it’s going well, and when I string a few sentences together that work and don’t immediately need to be deleted, I genuinely enjoy it.

 

 

What do you consume?

More caffeine than I think any doctor would recommend. Green tea by the barrel full—but iced, never hot. Diet Dr Pepper, which I’m trying to cut back on. Music is always on at our house. Books, of course, but, with two small children and my own writing to do, I consume fewer than I’d like. Movies, because that’s what I was raised on. Good TV, too, which there’s a ton of now. And baseball, because it’s just the best.
 

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3Ws – Gina Mulligan

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What do you create?

I write fiction about strong women for strong women. This comes through my historical novels, magazine articles, and my charity. Using my writing, my voice, has given me a way to create a movement called Girls Love Mail. We collect letters for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Letter writing is such a lost art. Creating these special gifts is a way for women to help empower each other

 

Why do you create?

I want to give people hope and support. With my charity, I think we’re fulfilling a need, and having such a strong purpose for my work inspires me. I also create to give a well-deserved nod to the amazing, pioneering women in our history that time has forgotten. We should remember foremothers and become the next generation of women to remember.

 

What do you consume?

Puppy videos. Watch a cute one. Feel free to share them with me on Facebook ─ I can’t watch enough!

 

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3Ws – Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline--Credit April Narby

What do you create?

I think I create stories that inspire, intrigue, terrify, rivet, and ultimately uplift people. I write fiction and nonfiction, and to me, my goal is the same in both, which is all of the above.

 

Why do you create?

I create because of the reason I said above, I create to inspire people and help them believe that they can overcome the obstacles in their life. I say this because I’ve written about thirty novels and in everyone an ordinary man or woman is faced with an unusual situation, but one that could occur, and they have to overcome it, simply by dint of will, intelligence, resilience, or bravery. I think ordinary people have a great deal of bravery that they don’t acknowledge, particularly women. And I hope that if I keep telling stories like this and people keep reading them, they will understand that they’re just like the main characters and that they can do anything!

 

What do you consume?

I love living in the time we do because I feel as if I consume everything. I read very widely and all across genres, both fiction and nonfiction. I love all kinds of movies, and see at least one a week, and I watch all kinds of television shows. I’m truly a junkie of pop culture in that way, and I love opera so I get to live opera as often as I can, if not go see the opera movies that the Metropolitan Opera is broadcasting. I feel as if I’m consuming story all the time and I truly believe that it helps me write my novels and nonfiction memoirs, which I write with my daughter, Francesca Serritella.

 

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3Ws – Miranda Sajdak

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What do you create?

I create movies, mostly. And scripts for TV and movies. Pretty much anything to do with the film and TV industries, I’ve probably had a hand in creating at some point, ranging from reality TV to feature films. Anything that allows me to tell stories for the screen.

 

Why do you create?

Great question, but this one is a little harder to verbalize. It almost feels too easy to say “because I couldn’t do anything else,” but every time I’ve had that moment of “what if I did this other, easier job?” I’m somehow pulled back to entertainment. After a certain amount of time invested, it’s not really a choice anymore – it becomes a compulsion. So, to fully answer the question, I create, because I couldn’t do anything else.

 

What do you consume?

Too much TV – mostly from the UK or Denmark. Films, usually with a female lead or major character. Food – I’m a foodie, so all kinds. Ideas – whether from something I’ve read or heard or seen. And writing: books, scripts, plays. Tons of writing.

 

Links

GoFundMe:  gofundme.com/MirandaDirects – currently fundraising for my next directing project, a diverse action film with a great cast.

Snapshot – Final Version from Miranda Sajdak on Vimeo.

3Ws – James Comtois

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What do you create?

Plays, mostly. Or to be more specific, scripts — I usually need a lot of help getting the scripts turned into full productions of plays. From about 2000 until about 2013, I co-ran a theatre company in New York called Nosedive Productions with our mutual pal Pete Boisvert. Through Nosedive, we staged several of my plays, which was a great deal of fun. I’ve recently stepped away from producing so I can just be a playwright for a little while. That may change in the future, but for now, I really like just being the chef (rather than the chef, the server, the maître-d’ and the busboy).

Most recently, my play, Monkeys, was staged in Chicago by the theatre company Random Acts and has been published by Chicago Drama Works.

 

Why do you create?

Wow, good question. I’m not sure I can provide a coherent answer to that. I’d like to say I create because it’s fun, but that’s a touch disingenuous (it can be absolutely grueling). I’d also like to say I create because it’s rewarding, but that’s not always the case (although it certainly can be at times). And I can’t even pretend to say I create for the money (even though those royalty checks are as welcome as those checks you get from your grandmother on your birthday). So why on earth do I do this?

I mean, I guess I ultimately create because…well, what else am I going to do?

 

What do you consume?

Wow. Lots of stuff, from TV to movies to podcasts to music to Snickers bars. My doctor would very much like me to cut back. On the Snickers bars, I mean. I don’t think he cares one bit about my TV binge-watching.

 

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3Ws – Julie Buxbaum

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What do you create?

Novels. My first two books (The Opposite of Love and After You) were what people in publishing call “contemporary women’s fiction” and my most recent book (Tell Me Three Things) which just came out (!!!), is considered “young adult,” though I like to think my books are for everyone. But really what I create are characters who I come to love and know over the year (or years depending on the book) that I spend writing them. And from there comes plot and then ultimately (hopefully) words and eventually I create a pile of pages that somehow (hopefully) turns into a novel that people stay up too late reading.

 

Why do you create?

I ask myself this question every single day, because I feel like writing is one of those things you should only do if you have to. And I’m just one of those people who has to. I came to writing a little bit later than most (I had a short career as a lawyer first), but looking back even though I was too scared to declare myself a writer—was trying so hard to declare myself anything but a writer—I was always, always writing in my head. So I create because it makes me understand myself and the world around me and soothes me in a way that nothing else seems to do. I love it even when I hate it, and there is no better feeling in the world than nailing that perfect sentence or, if you are supremely lucky, that perfect paragraph.

 

What do you consume?

Pretty much anything that interests me and feeds my imagination. My consumption works in cycles somewhat related to where I am in my work life. If I’m in the thick of writing, I tend to stay away from anything that covers similar territory, and instead read and watch things to nourish my brain and to keep words swishing around in there. My favorite thing to consume is the stuff that makes me wish I had written it myself, the stuff that makes me question whether I’m good enough to keep going when there are people out there who do it all so much better. But that’s also the stuff that drives me to work harder, that makes me want to sit down each day and try again and again and again.

I also consume chocolate. And wine. And sometimes potato chips, because they are delicious.

 

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