Today, I have an author interview with heather liz. Check it out!
By heather liz
Genre: Poetry Collection
radical lays bare the devastating effects of patriarchy on the lives of women. It shows how beliefs, laws, and even aspects of feminism are used to keep women in place. A place that wounds. These pieces require more from the reader than casual poetry reading. In fact, you may at times find yourself holding your breath as you race to consume the book in one sitting. radical takes you on a journey that even the most self-proclaimed woke person still needs to go on. It is uncomfortable at times to have liz perfectly describe pain, anger, or loss you thought dealt with long ago. And yet, every word validates who you are and what you have experienced in life, as if she knew all your secrets. But don’t worry, radical also suggest a way forward. After all, liz wants what we all want, a better way of being human.
From the book:
So, what does that say about us women?
Who clearly cannot be trusted
With their own self
Having never experienced being a self.
What events inspired the writing of this collection?
I wrote one poem and thought that would be it. I could have never guessed that within six months I would have over a hundred pages of poetry. There was no event in particular that sparked that first poem, but I kept writing because I recognized that, I, like most women, had witnessed and absorbed enough in my life to speak about it forever. The events in my life are not unique: I had just left my high-demand religion that kept me at home, raising five kids, with no sexual identity beyond pleasing my husband-fled to law school, only to realize that the law also enslaves women in all sorts of ways, and this feeling that escaping my religion would not be enough, we would need to overhaul every social structure, and the impossibility of this feeling. When I couldn’t hold all of that in anymore, it came out in poetry. Poetry, in that moment, became the way I could speak about what was happening to me as a woman.
What might you tell women facing a similar situation?
Speak every wound, every truth, and every longing you have. Say the thing you dare not say. You don’t have to be public with it if you don’t want to, just say the impossible thing out loud to yourself. There are so many lies and injustices we endure on the daily as women, there needs to be a moment in our life where we say what we know to be true, even if we fear being struck down at that very moment. There is nothing more radical than a woman who speaks from the place within that is truly her.
How did you hone your writing craft?
Writing radical, from that first poem all the way to holding it in my hands in book form was my way of honing my craft. The pieces in radical are almost all exactly how I originally wrote them. I have grown a lot as a writer, and I have radical to thank for getting me started.
What hurdle did you need to overcome to write this collection?
I, for sure, had to overcome the voice in my head that said, ‘you can’t speak this or if you say this you will offend others.’ Women are often conditioned to not be angry or direct. radical does and says all the things I never could. I also needed lots of babysitters, as I have five kids and while writing this collection, I was in law school.
What is your response, to women in particular, that your work makes them feel angry?
I have thought about this a lot and at first, I would often feel bad that my work dredged up so many hard feelings, including anger. But then I realized it was not my words that were causing the anger, it was that we walk around with that anger, pretending it doesn’t exist, and my words give space for it, often for the first time. radical invites honesty about how we really feel.
What do you find most challenging as a writer and woman about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
I was surprised by how emotionally draining it is to write. I dove into every wound I had, picked it up, examined it from every angle, and then worked to describe it. It was bloody exhausting! But because I never intended to write a book for others to read, I knew I was writing for me. Now when I am feeling so much, I take radical off the shelf, almost forgetting I wrote it, and I find a piece that speaks to how I am feeling and say to myself, “that is exactly how I feel, too!” I appreciate having a name for what is going on inside of me at any given time.
Why did you select poetry as your medium of creative outlet over memoir or non-fiction?
It wasn’t a conscious choice. In fact, I had not really written poetry since I was a teenager. On that night, when I wrote that first poem, I actually thought I was going to type out some thoughts in paragraph form and be done with it. It was only when I was done writing that I realized I had formatted a poem. Now I love the medium! Line breaks allow me room for emphasis or silence in the thought. I often hear the poems as if it were a musical piece, where parts go fast, with other parts more solemn. Certainly, some of my pieces are more like hard rock and others are slow, acoustic heart wrenching singing.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
My mother for sure! She passed away seven years ago now, after a five-year rapid decline from Alzheimer’s, which she was diagnosed with when I was 28. It wasn’t until after her diagnosis that I discovered so much about her past, both her childhood and her adult life, all before marrying my father, that broke my heart. She was abused left and right and I had no clue. She never spoke this pain. I would want to visit with her and give her the space to finally speak her pain, her anger, and her longings. We must make these spaces for ourselves and for one another as women.
heather liz wrote her debut collection, radical., on accident. A culmination of events: leaving a high-demand religion, entering her last year of law school, and the discovery of her body as her own (as opposed to belonging to a man) caused her to realize what we have done to women. This collection captures her first observations of the world, as it currently stands, and her critiques and suggestions for how to change it. heather liz resides in the Carolinas with her husband and five children.
Find her: http://www.heather-liz.com
Let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to interact with you. If this sounds like something you would read, let me know!