I recently chatted with Linda Anger about her fresh off the press debut collection of poetry and stories Sweeping the Floor at the Full Crumb Cafe.
Some of these poems and stories of the women who pass through The Full Crumb Cafe have language so gripping, words and ideas so remarkable, that the reader can rest in their comfort even as the tension of the piece moves through them. Part bright fantasy, with splashes of terror and the possibility of freedom, this solid collection rests on the final, triumphant story of Cindy, the girl who never had a chance but made one for herself out of sheer determination. Is this collection a caper or a cautionary tale? I’d say in Anger’s capable hands, it is both, and more.
You can read my full review of Linda’s collection on Amazon and Goodreads. Meanwhile, here’s what she had to say to my burning questions about poetry, stories, and the writing life:
Cindy: When did you write your first poem?
Linda: 1960. I was nine years old. It was rhymed and childish, of course – something about horses. More often than not, though, I wrote short stories when I was a child. It wasn’t until I was in high school and took my first creative writing course that I began to be serious about poetry.
Cindy: Do you write/work on petty daily or consistently or is it something you need to feel inspired?
Linda: Both. I make my living writing for others – blog posts, magazine articles, websites. For those, I am very disciplined and consistent. My poetry and fiction is a bit different. I do write every day, but it is not always a “moving forward” process. Some days I don’t work on a poem or a story, but spend time mapping out concepts I want to explore.
There are the moments of inspiration, of course, and I have pulled to the side of the road to write down a phrase or a story idea more than once in the last ten years, or forced myself out of bed in the middle of the night to copy down a conversation some characters decided to have while I was sleeping! Once those “inspired” thoughts are on paper, they may simmer in my internal cauldron for hours or weeks before I sit down to write seriously.
One poem – “Wallpapering,” which is in “Sweeping the Floors in the Full Crumb Cafe” started out as a 7-page, handwritten rant. Seven months later, after tinkering with it almost every day, I put down my pen, stood up to read it out loud to myself, and realized it was done.
Cindy: Talk more about how the short stories fit into your writing life.
Linda: Short stories were, in my mind, my strong point as a writer of fiction. I still believe that, but find that when I share my shorts with my critique partners, they all want me to keep going – they want novels based on the shorts. So I have two novels in the works right now, and I flip back and forth between them, as well as continuing to write shorts on a regular basis. I’m also in the midst of writing a manuscript that is a series of shorts that relate to each other but are complete stories in their own rights.
Cindy: You also write for others as a business. What’s that like? Does it help or hurt or have no influence at all on your creative writing?
Linda: I think the work I do through my business – The Write Concept, Inc., brings huge benefit to my creative work, and my creative work makes a huge difference in my business writing. Ghostwriting – whether it is a complete manuscript or a single blog post – requires me to listen intensely to the language, cadence, and intent of the people I ghost. This comes in really handy in writing believable dialogue! I love my business work – every day is different, every project is different, there is nothing “routine” about my work life, and that is, I believe, part of the reason I can also be successful in my creative work.
Thanks, Linda! Readers can check out Linda’s website and take a look at her Book Launch page, too.