blackbirdonline journalSpring 2010  Vol. 9  No. 1

Mike Antosia
   Entrance and Exit

Tanaz Bhathena
   Under Skins

Renée Branum
   The Art of Storytelling

Brianna Noll
   Poetry as Surpassed Nature

Saara Myrene Raappana
   To Failure

Will Schutt
   Windows and Walls

Phillip B. Williams
   A Man Writes “Human” and
       is Not Punished



Seven Contributors on Process

Since 2007, we have invited contributors featured in our annual Introductions Loop to comment on their creative process. This year, Mike Antosia, Tanaz Bhathena, Renée Branum, Brianna Noll, Saara Myrene Raappana, Will Schutt, and Phillip B. Williams step up to the task.

Mike Antosia seeks authenticity in his work, the truth of a given moment in a bar, in a park, or on a street corner—where humanity exposes itself without affectation. “If I have an aim as a writer,” he states, “it’s to get my neighborhood down on paper.”

Tanaz Bhathena composes in the metaphysical space that lies between faith and opportunity. “Sometimes, if I’m lucky,” she writes, “I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to scribble down a bit of dialogue or a paragraph on a note that I’ll stick on the wall beside my writing desk, even though the idea itself may never be used in the story.”

Renée Branum begins with a space, a landscape, a town and allows it to permeate upward through her fiction, as nutrients are channeled through the roots of a tree. She reveals, “I felt an awareness developing in me, a new attunement to the histories of places, of people, and the relationship between the two.”

Brianna Noll gives in to the interplay of sense and perception in the creation of her verse. “The world is stunning and strange,” she observes. “We apprehend it physically—waves and molecules spark neural signals—but then our brains make connections, to memories, to ideas.”

Saara Myrene Raappana relishes the curveballs thrown at a writer in the throes of revising a body of work. She notes, “I get lost in those sublime particulars, in failure after failure, until all I can see is the process. When I’m lucky, the bat propels the ball; the corridor door opens.”

Will Schutt toes the line between describing the exterior world—the literal vision that awaits the writer just outside his door—and drawing inspiration from the mind: “The world out the window won’t pose for the picture; the imagination always has to absorb those objects in the offing,” he explains. “It’s healthy to look, I think, just as, after a time, it becomes critical to draw the curtains.”

Phillip B. Williams’s impulses arise from exploring and dismantling seemingly steadfast dichotomies—peace and chaos, life and death. “There is a man,” Williams meditates, “wanting to explore what it means to love the body and the many ways it can be broken—in half, into, in love.”  end

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