why the war shirt, how the square


Every now and then a writerly thing comes this way.

Kathleen Kirk, a generous poet and writer I have admired for some years, has asked me to contribute to the Writers’ Process Blog Tour. You will want to check out her blog and the way she links art with words, with life, with humor, with bugs. Stuff like that. She’s been a mainstay on my page of links for years because I don’t want to lose track of her wise and humorous ways.  She’s asked me four questions:

KK: What are you working on?

I can’t manage a game plan. I’ve landed without a plot. I am interested in poetry outside of the poem, yet contained within the line break. Music, street photography, collage, memoir, creative nonfiction, film. The connections, the disconnects. When I’ve been writing, it’s been along the line of tracking down Chief Joseph’s war shirt, skirting the poem and following instead the energy connecting us to him. Follow this link to the War Shirt.

KK: How does your work differ from other writers in your genre?

I write from a place of confusion. Theirs seems to be from a place of clarity.

KK: Why do you write?

Writing is my filter. I am not so interested in the plot line that threads our universe, but rather the disconnected moments strung every which way between your world and mine. Writing is how I process, exploring the edges of between. Why the rhino and the soup can. How the whale and a taxi cab. When the asphalt and the tears.

KK: What is your writing process?

Probably it begins with: observe. Without purpose. Becomes paper slips with words on them, written in my hand, accumulating in pockets and cedar bowls. At the most inopportune time comes the urge to unfold those paper bits, line them up like soldiers crawling from foxholes, cookies cooling on a baker’s rack. What is this? I ask. How or why these phrases written on the back of a coupon, across the headline news? The pups press against my legs. I turn the music off, open the back door. Find a blank page on my computer screen and wonder what is to become.

Now, we pass this list on to two of my favorite writers: Rose Hunter and Consuelo Saah Baehr. Both writers amaze me with their views on life, the way they can share in a few words what I can’t do at all. They both come at you without bopping you on the nose and if you are looking for another bit of life to explore, click on over to read them. They have been asked (or will be asked) these same questions as well and we hope to see their answers soon.


About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

7 responses to “why the war shirt, how the square

  1. csbaehr

    I like all of your answers because they leave the road wide open for all of us to use. I haven’t received an invite but I like the questions. Thank you for your assessment of my blog – it helps me understand what I write.

    • redmitten

      oh thank you! i sent you a facebook message inviting you, and also left you a note on your blog. really hope you will do it because i know your answers will definitely widen out the road i am often stuck on. if you will answer these four questions in the way that you answer questions, and then ask two other writers with blogs if they would do so as well. for those inclined, we can follow previous writers’ answers as well as future writers’ replies.

  2. Pingback: Writer Process Blog Tour | Whoever Brought Me Here Will Have To Take Me Home

  3. Dammit, I left a comment just then and I think it got eaten. … What I said … I love your answers here. I’m glad I didn’t read them before I wrote mine because I would have wanted to steal some of them. Yes to the disconnected moments. And that it starts with observe. Thank you for tagging me, and your kind words, and your answers.

    And I didn’t realize this is where this pic came from/was as well, the comfort pic. Facebook comfort pic? (that you posted). 🙂

    • redmitten

      so slow, i am, to returning comment. see also: puppies and lack of sleep. you can steal anytime you want. steal some of my lack of sleep, even . . .:)

  4. TC

    So now we know how you do it! those little slips of paper lined up like sugar cookies. I may try that— perhaps it will jumpstart production at Art & Document? (Happy to see the link.) Life is too busy. Not Enough Snow is always a relief. Blessings, Sherry.

    • redmitten

      oh tc, it was good to hear from you. some people i know can’t think of one thing to do or be interested in. you are that fresh shovel-flip of rich soil, something always growing in your presence. blessings to you as well. sherry

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