Adriane Smith is our first writer in residence at Main Street Arts! She’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the months of January–February 2017. We asked Adriane a few questions about her work, life, and more:
Q: To start this off, tell us a little about your background.
A: I’m from right outside of Rochester, NY. I’ve always kept my hand in the literary arts from doing community relations at a bookstore to graduate work and teaching writing and Literature to working on a lecture series. I’ve had cool opportunities to write for various places, but I’m looking forward to devoting some time to my own personal projects.
Q: How would you describe your work?
A: Victorian Futuristic Punk. I’m interested in fairytales, nostalgia, and liminality or the spaces between. I grew up on Molly Whuppie, Baba Yaga, the Grimm Brothers, and Hans Christian Anderson and I love how these fairytales are eerie and dark and violent and beautiful and clever and whimsical all at once. They tell us about the world on a very primal level as they illustrate life, death, love, goodness, sacrifice, and loss. Fairytales are also deeply nostalgic texts. They are the creation of and yearning for a time and place that never existed. Thus, fairytales speak to the deepest parts of our psyche. So, I’m also interested in exploring nostalgia for both the past and the future—how it imbues our memory of the past, our action in the present, and our hope for the future is an important element in my work.
Q: What is your creative process?
A: Procrastinate, write really terrible prose, revise said prose, repeat until it’s not terrible anymore. That’s really the writing process in a nutshell. But it can also include reading, researching, drinking copious amounts of tea, writing lists, and staring into space. And I’m developing a penchant for writing on blank walls, so we’ll see where that takes me.
Q: What are your goals for this residency?
A: So, there’s this great story about Douglas Adams’ editor locking him into a hotel room until he finished a long overdue project. He was a notorious procrastinator which gives me hope for myself and my own procrastinating tendencies. I think of this residency as my own version of the hotel room, but with better art. I plan to use this time to focus, discipline, and organize my writing life. So far, it’s working. I’ve got a longer novel in the works but there are also a couple shorter projects that I’d like to finish up. I will be teaching writing workshops—stay tuned. And I would love to work with artists who might want some help with artist statements or other writing for their careers—stay tuned on that one too.
Q: Who is your favorite writer and why?
A: My favorite writing usually brings together the fantastic with the ordinary. I like Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clarke, and Douglas Adams very much for these reasons. There are so many great authors who have done and are doing so many interesting things and I’m very bad at lists because I always change my mind and/or leave something/someone out.
Q: What advice would you give to other writers?
A: Write! Even if it’s just for a matter of minutes every day. There is no substitute for sitting down and putting one word after another over and over again. And don’t be afraid to write badly—just keep going; that’s what revision is for.