Laisha Rosnau


12 or 20 Questions with Laisha Rosnau

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7 - After having published a couple of titles over the past few years, do you find the process of book-making harder or easier?

Right now, harder. I wrote, sent out for publication consideration, and published my first two books, the novel and the poetry collection, in a state of blissful ignorance and naiveté. It was glorious. I was struck hard by secondnovelitis and, though I wrote innumerable drafts over several years, that novel is currently wrapped in brown paper, sitting in the freezer. I’m not eager to open the package. I think its expiration date may have passed and it might stink.

My life changed immeasurably between the publication of my first book and now. When I started my novel, I was single for the first time in years, I lived in a graduate student’s dorm, and I didn’t even cook my own meals. Time seemed like an expansive and malleable thing and I replaced that lost relationship with a fire of ambition under my ass. I was really happy professionally but I pined for true love, a baby and a house with a yard. Now, I got all those things and I haven’t yet figured out how to write books while feeling grounded and content. That, and my time seems a lot less malleable, or rather someone else is doing the bending and shaping of my time and that someone, though very small and cute, can snap time in half over his wee pudgy knee.
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10 - How easy has it been for you to move between genres (poetry to fiction)? What do you see as the appeal?

Fairly easy in any given month, though less easy day to day or, at times, week to week. There are periods when I move between the two, not effortlessly but manically. Other times, I am in a definite Poetry Period or Prose Period. Generally, when I’m working intensively on either one or the other, I am a single-genre kind of girl. During early drafts, conceptions, generation, etc, I can flit from one to the other, often in fits of fickleness. I love poetry for its ability to capture a moment, an image, or a contradictory feeling in so few lines. I love fiction for its Hugeness, the way it can consume me.
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14 - David W. McFadden once said that books come from books, but are there any other forms that influence your work, whether nature, music, science or visual art?

For me, books come from walking (and, once upon a time in a bike route friendly city, from biking) as well. I don’t consider myself a “nature writer,” whatever that is, but the space and rhythm of moving through the outside world influences my work. I picked up a habit in my undergrad of listening to the same music over and over while I work on a specific project. I listened to three albums while writing The Sudden Weight of Snow. One of them was an Elliott Smith CD. A few years later, a student in one of my classes said to me, “This may sound strange but your novel reminded me of an Elliott Smith album.” I was floored and he got an A (not really; the course was non-credit!) Science is increasingly an influence. The novel that I stuffed in the freezer was about a particle physicist. I’d started to read about physics and everything seemed like a Huge Metaphor to me, still does though that novel is on hold. My husband’s work as a biologist and all the things he tells me about the mating habits of birds and the like have a way of making it into my poetry. But of course, books come from everywhere and everything.

15 - What other writers or writings are important for your work, or simply your life outside of your work?

I’ve sat here for minutes trying to come up with the perfect list to answer that question. I’m going to stop now and write: too many to list. I’ll leave it at that because I’m obsessive enough that if I listed a few, I’d spend days remembering those that I didn’t mention. (Also, see the answer for question 6 & the name-dropping therein.)
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Read the rest of the interview at 12 or 20 Questions with Laisha Rosnau