Today’s guest on “What Are You Writing?” Friday is Rachel Lauve! Rachel is a senior English Education major and Creative Writing minor here at BSU.
So tell me about your writing style. Which genres do you prefer to write in and why?
I used to consider myself a strict fiction writer, but after taking Silas Hansen’s creative nonfiction class over the summer, I’m a bit of a genre convert. I used to be petrified of CNF, but I really fell in love with it the more I actually worked and played with it. With CNF, there’s not as much pressure to craft extremely detailed characters out of thin air, since there’s memory to draw on, but the unreliability of memory makes the process exciting. I’m really obsessed with Eula Biss‘s work at the moment, so she’s currently serving as one of my main models for my CNF work. My fiction work has taken a bit of a back burner because of this, but I still like writing fiction because it’s what I like to read, especially YA. I consider YA more an audience rather than a genre, but I love the idea of writing it because YA novels can belong to any genre imaginable and because they’re such accessible novels; my ultimate goal for writing YA would be to craft something as masterful as “The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender” by Leslye Walton.
Has any of your work been published yet? When are you hoping to get published?
I haven’t had anything published yet, but I’m hoping to have a piece published within the next year. I’m working on a creative nonfiction piece that I’m told has potential, and that will be finished by the end of the semester, so once that’s finished, my ideal magazine would probably be The Missouri Review. Although poetry is not the genre I’m most comfortable with, a poem I read at the first Reacting Out Loud open mic of the semester is up on their YouTube channel, if that counts as publication, and I recently came in second at the Get Loud Poetry Slam with a different piece. (You can watch Rachel’s performance of her poem “Seafoam” here.)
What does writing do for you? What do you get out of it?
My love of writing is intrinsically tied to my love of reading, as I considered myself a reader above all else before I ever began to identify as a writer; I loved what other people wrote, and so I wanted to emulate what they did. Writing also serves as a form of self-expression, as I’m sure it does for millions of others, but I find expressing myself verbally is much more difficult, so writing has always been a safe haven in that regard. It also forces me to push myself – you have to keep writing in order to improve, and writing allows me to take risks that I might not ordinarily take in any other part of my life.
What projects are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on the creative nonfiction piece I mentioned previously – it’s for my special topics in creative writing course that focuses on innovations with first person points of view, and I’m writing it in modular form, drawing from “The Balloonists” by Eula Biss for form inspiration. Essentially, the piece deals with my grandfather’s murder when my mother was just a child, how I reacted to finding old newspapers about his death, and my views about death and religion. It’s interspersed with memories and imagery that support this exploration of death and religion, and the following excerpt (where I was attempting to play with my sentence level writing) describes the time I saw a ladybug wash up at Lake Michigan: “My skeleton shivered within my skin as lifeless exoskeletons brushed up against my legs, carried by the waves after their lives were drowned.” (Learn more about The Lost Lady Bug Project here.)