Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick [shannonelizabeth]
How do you avoid repeating yourself, or falling into formula? How do you stay fresh?
I try and keep myself active, reading various different material from a mixture of fields. For example, for a period of time, I'll find myself studying quantum mechanics alongside geology. One thing always leads to another. Glenn Gould's music will lead to neurology, etc. It's a long process of feeling my way through different topics. I let the gods lead my study patterns. Fate, what have you, has an interesting way of pointing out connections.
Does spirituality contribute to your creativity?
Spirituality definitely contributes to my creativity. I was always a spiritual person, especially as a child. I wasn't brought up in any particular church, but I found myself writing to God as a little girl. I love to study other religions, how people express or experience their spiritual side, etc, and I find myself reading literature that deals with spirituality. For example, I love reading the Persian poet, Hafiz. Other times I will read Rumi. I also find a lot of spirituality in the sciences. I think I fall in love each day with some aspect of this Universe. I was telling someone last night: with so much to explore and love, how is one lifetime ever enough? Spirituality is my way of understanding the power and magnitude of both pain and pleasure in life.
What city in the world currently attracts you due to its creative environment?
Currently, New York City because I live there. I love wandering around St. Marks or Central Park, observing people. There is so much to take in, enjoy, and inspire me here. However, my all time favorite city, a city that I hold very close to my heart is London. I lived there for a while in the past and nothing, absolutely nothing compares to how it inspires in me. Also, nature is my little heaven. The mountains of Northern New Mexico or the desert mountains of Utah? Oh, yes. I find my heaven there. Pine trees are tiny gods to me, as is the ocean.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
My favorite genre would be a mix between poetry / personal narrative / non-fiction / and fiction. I know, it's a lot to mix together. I love to absorb everything. Here are some websites where my work can be read / heard.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
I write for You. Sometimes my You is the Universe, or a specific person, or the stranger I fell in love with on the subway. Sometimes my You is myself, or my future self, or God. Other times, my You is You.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
I think my "voice" is always evolving, like me. However, I do feel that I am getting closer to a "core voice." I think I just made up that word. I don't know if there is such a thing as a "core voice" but if there is, then I think I'm moving closer to it. That's not to say I don't think I will continue to grow, change, and evolve...God, I hope I always do!
What are you working on now?
Right now, I am working on my MFA at Sarah Lawrence College. It's a wonderful experience! So, I guess you could say I'm working on my Thesis, which will end up being a book. Maybe it will end up a publishable book, maybe not. But I am excited to be working toward something as concrete as that. Otherwise, I'd say I am always working one piece at a time. But that's sort of a lie, because I have sort of ADD, even when it comes to reading (I am always reading about 4 books at a time) and so I will work on one piece of prose or poetry for a while, then I will put it aside and start something new. This way, I don't get too frustrated with one piece and can move back and forth between drafts.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
I recommend you keep them. Sometimes, it's good to go back and read old material from time to time. I never throw anything away. Once, I allowed my mother to convince me to throw away a journal from a specific time in my life--a time that was rocky and full of personal struggle. She said it would be therapeutic to "let it go." To this day I regret throwing that journal away. Always keep whatever you write, even if it's just in a box. Anything can be used later for inspiration or research for a story, character, or voice.
What is your blog address? What subjects do you deal with?
My blog is located here: http://www.shannonelizabeth-hardwick.blogspot.com/
I like to write about a lot of different topics in my blog. A variation between poetry, science, personal experiences, the writing process, spirituality, etc.
How has 'having a blog' contributed to your life?
It keeps me motivated. I find that I write more when I feel I have someone, anyone, perhaps reading my work. Not because I write for, or need an audience, (insomuch as I would find myself writing even if no one ever saw my wrok, because I love writing) but because it keeps me accountable.
A simple pleasure that for you is quite big or important.
Taking a bath at night with hot tea and a good book. Also, a lovely glass of red wine, once in a while.
Are you an ex-smoker? How did you quit?
I am an ex-smoker. I quit because I fell ill with pneumonia for three months my last semester of undergrad. It was awful. I am so glad that I got so sick, otherwise, I don't know if I would have been able to quit. It's so much better to be able to walk into a room and not smell like smoke.
Of what are you an addict?
I am addicted to running. I absolutely love to run. I have to have my iPod, though, because otherwise I don't know if I would be able to run for long. Music. That's another thing I'm addicted to, and books.
To which other place in the world would you move without hesitation?
London. No question. Also, I think for a time I'd love to live in Spain, specifically southern Spain, Andalucia. I spend a summer there studying and absolutely loved it.
Where have you thought of going for your next holiday?
I really, really want to go to Austria. I have yet to go.
Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick
New York, United States