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Indie Author Spotlight: Talisha Harrison

Indie Author Spotlight:

Field Recordings will continue to spotlight indie authors, established authors, and up and coming talents. This is a evolving process. Ideally, the interviews will focus on craft, revisions,and the process of writing. It's a lifestyle, writing. This week we welcome Talisha Harrison, poet, and author of The Unconsciousness of an Ethiopian Princess: College Days of Future Past. Links to Harrison's work is peppered throughout. I encourage you to explore.

Name: Talisha Harrison

Pen Name: I usually go by my real name but I also go by Tali Adina.

Most recent title published: The Unconsciousness of an Ethiopian Princess: College Days of Future Past

Where do you write? On my bed, at work, while I’m waiting in the doctor’s office, for the most part anywhere as long as I have a writing materials, otherwise I’ll write it in my head and hold onto it until I can write it down.

What are your rituals with regards to writing (ex: Must have tea, a cat on the lap, etc) :

I must be comfortable and I have to have something to drink (usually water) in my Spider-Man cup.

Describe your writing process:

I don’t really have a process per say. If I have an idea I’ll write it down and then flesh it out a little bit. Sometimes I’ll create an outline. If it’s a poem I just write it.

What do you when you begin to revise? What's the first thing you do during that process?

I read over what I wrote first. Sometimes I revise while I’m still writing. I check for grammatical errors and see if what I wrote makes sense. I’ll leave it alone for awhile and come back to it and write something that sounds better.

When revising, how many drafts do you go through before you feel comfortable with the final product?

It varies every time. I know it’s at least two drafts but it could be more especially if it’s a story.

As a poet, whose music, or voice, sometimes do you hear as you write or revise?

I hear a lot of voices and they’re diverse. I hear my ancestors (and there’s a lot of them and they’re diverse as well), I hear all genres of music especially rock. I hear the voices of the oppressed, those who have had their heart broken, those who are cynical about the world and life in general. I hear those who are depressed, those who are antisocial, those who are anger about the injustices in the world. I also hear the voices of those who are kids at heart, those who seek adventure, who have hope, who are creative, and have a big imagination.

How would you classify your poetry? Are you a lyric poet? A Romantic? A Surrealist?

To be honest, I can’t classify it. My poems are about a lot of different things so I couldn’t just pin it as one specific thing. If I had to classify it I would say that my poetry is a little bit of everything.

What poets are you currently reading?

I just finished reading Nikki Giovanni’s Love Poems. I also follow other poets online who aren’t well known yet.

What poets/poems do you strongly recommend a reader to discover?

My favorite poets are Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson, and James Baldwin so anything by them. I would also encourage readers to read poems not only by the well-known but also by the not so well known. Attend a local poetry open-mic in your community and hear poems by your neighbors friends, and strangers you don’t know.

The contemporary American poetic tradition is elegy, do you discover elegiac qualities among your own writing as a whole? Are you a poet of loss?

To be honest, I really don’t know. I write about my experiences and my observations of the many things that I’ve and heard. Some of my experiences and observations have been painful so I guess I could say that I am.

Where does your inspiration come from (music, film, other books)?

I’m inspired by my experiences and observations of the world. Music is also very important to me, it’s a part of my life. I listen to it on a daily basis, and I chant at synagogue at every Saturday. I enjoy film, I’m no film expert but I do enjoy a good movie. I love the action and adventure, I enjoy the drama and suspense, the creativity and imagination. That applies to books as well. Overall I love music, film, and books which make you stop and think about things. The ones that make you question and be curious about something are my favorites.

Explain how your local and regional environment influences your writing, your process, and your product (in other words, how does your reality intersect with the worlds that you create?):

As I’ve said before, I use my personal experiences as well as my observations of my surroundings to write stories and poems. I’ve lived in Florida for most of my life and I’ve had good and bad social interactions (mostly bad) of different kinds (racism, bullying, etc.), so you’ll see those experiences in my writing. I have some comic book stories that I’m working on that are set in the Central Florida area. Basically, the experiences that I’ve had, the things that I’ve read about or seen on the news, the conversations that I’ve had with people or that I’ve overheard, the neighborhood that I’ve lived in since I was in fourth grade (and desperately want to move out of), etc. All of these things good and bad leak into my writing in some way.

You have to invite three authors to dinner, who are they? Why?

Octavia Butler: She was one of the few African-American sci-fi writers. I see a little bit of myself in her. I was recently introduced to her work and I’m currently reading Imago, the last book in the Lilith’s Brood aka Xenogenesis trilogy. I would love to hear her thoughts and tips for writing and discuss with her race, sexuality, gender, religion, social progress, and social class.

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan: Another who past away too soon, he was one of the most effective, persuasive, scholar of Judaism. He was an original thinker and though he died at an early age, he wrote a lot of books. I have a couple of his books and I would love to discuss with him many topics and hear what he had to say from a Jewish perspective. He was also known for his intimate knowledge of both physics and kabbalah so I would talk to him about that.

Stephen Turnbull: History is one of my favorite subjects and I love reading about the good, the bad, the ugly and the horrible. I think it’s important to learn from the past ALL of it. I enjoy reading his historical books about samurai in medieval Japan. So I would just pick his brain about that time period and ask him questions about it.

Favorite title (you wish you had come up with):

I have two: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Something Wicked This Way Comes

Line you wish you wrote:

I have two: A screaming comes across the sky. —Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow and

There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. —C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Book you did not read in high school but now have read and have an appreciation for: And why:

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

It’s such an intriguing work and it baffles me how we don’t know why Samsa transforms.

The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien

We only got to read a small part of this story and I read it after I saw the film this year and I loved it. It’s a book that I will definitely read to my children (if I have them) one day.

Favorite words:

If you mean a quote then I would say “Momento Mori” which means “Remember that you will die” it’s my favorite because it reminds me not to waste each day and cherish the good as well as the bad because you can learn and grow from both.

Least favorite words:

If you mean a quote then I’ll have to say “I’m the goddamn Batman.”

Advice you would like to pass on to other writers:

Write. Write about everything, don’t put limits on your writing. That saying “the sky’s the limit” isn’t true because above the sky is space. And though space has an end, it’s enormous and vast, so space is truly the limit and since it will take a long time to reach the endpoint, you’ve got a lot to work with and discover. Also don’t be intimidated by your writing and don’t rush either.

What you would discuss with your pet if your pet could talk:

I would like to know if they like the name I gave them. I would also want to know how they feel and what they feel. I would ask them why they do certain things. If they like their food, what are their thoughts on the world, if they enjoyed the music that I play.

You can connect with Talisha Harrison at Twitter, Smashwords, and Goodreads.


Anonymous said…
Interesting answers, Talisha! Love your line you wish you'd written: "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." I remember reading that as a girl and loving that line.

Best of luck with your book,

Margaret Eckman

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