Author Emily Vieweg

Write and Author is interviewing Emily Vieweg, author of Look Where She Points.

Emily Vieweg is a poet and playwright originally from St. Louis, Missouri. Her work has been published in Foliate Oak, The Voices Project, Red Weather Literary Magazine, Soundings Review, Art Young's Good Morning, Proximity Magazine and more. Emily's debut chapbook Look Where She Points is available from Plan B Press. She lives in Fargo, North Dakota where she is a mother of two, pet parent, data processor and adjunct English instructor.

What is a chapbook?
A chapbook is a short collection of poems, usually between 15 and 40 pages.

My chapbook Look Where She Points was published by a small independent press, Plan B Press. I have a second chap in the works on, and a third I am considering self-publishing.

What inspires your poetry?
 Most of my poetry is inspired by "regular" life. I find beauty in the ordinary and the mundane.
The grunts my daughter makes in frustration as the legos don't fit together quite right. Memories of my son walking away from me the first time he entered kindergarten, wearing a button-up shirt and sweater vest "Just Like Papa." Or the squeal of glee from my daughter as she "flies" in the air from the trampoline.
My current project on Channillo is inspired by the classical music of Beethoven and Bach, however my life inspirations frequently make an appearance in the individual pieces.

What made you decide to write poetry?
 I have always written poetry and created stories from acquired knowledge (I wrote "The Truth About Santa Claus" when I was nine). I find that writing poetry is not only familiar, it is imperative to being me. I find myself thinking poetically on occasion, usually when I am in a difficult emotional situation and need to find the words to express my feelings. "Sad" or "Emotional" just are not descriptive; instead, I compare my maternal instinct to a tigress "hrumpf"ing for her cubs to take cover.

I don't think I ever made the decision to write poetry. I just did it.

What is your definition of poetry?
 Oh gosh, there are so many different types of poetry: form, long form, prose, free verse. My poetry is exploring a moment in time and creating a snapshot - a polaroid of sorts, expressing a scene, telling a story with imagery, sharing the stories behind the moment in a phrase that has not been communicated before.
How long does it take you to write a poem?
The basic feeling of a poem happens very quickly. I can get a good idea down and into print within hours, but the polish can take days to weeks, depending on how close I am to the poem. One of my favorite pieces took months to feel comfortable enough to edit, it is a memorial to a dear friend I lost to suicide. Everyone in my MFA workshop felt the title was wrong, but I could not bear to change the title - I was still too close to the poem. I wasn't ready to let it live on its own, even though I knew it had to. Poems are individuals, like people. Each piece knows where it wants to go, I just have to let it get there. If I am not ready to let it go, the poem cannot be complete. 

How do you market yourself and your writing?
I am very new to marketing my writing. Right now I rely on word-of-mouth and social media to promote my work. I also have a full-time job and two children to raise, so the business end of my writing is on the back burner. Hopefully I can scramble enough time and resources together to hold a reading with some other writers in town to promote all of our work.

Why do you write?
I write because I have something to say, and I need to get it out into the open. I have to write. I have to communicate my feelings and dreams and wishes and fears to the world. Keeping all of that information locked inside can be poisonous to a soul. I write because I have experiences I want others to understand. I want survivors to know they are not alone. I want shy daughters and sons to find their voices. I want my children to see me pursue a dream I have always chased and never been able to catch - until recently. As part of an MFA course I had to submit a manuscript to a small press. I sent a query letter and the poetry portion of my Master's Thesis to Plan B Press. The press came out of hiatus because of my manuscript. I was shocked. Me? My manuscript? Published? For real? It is still a shock to see my life on the "About the Author" page.

How often do you write and what is your process?
I want to write more frequently. I want to write more regularly and develop a writing process and regular schedule. Right now I write when the kids are asleep or if I get an evening to myself, or if the moment hits. Last night, for example, I was sitting in bed, trying to relax enough to sleep because my son was getting his wisdom teeth removed today. Even though my son is 17 and he has been through some significant surgeries in the past, the momma tiger was pacing around in my brain, longing to protect my cub from danger.
So I wrote a long Facebook post that felt somewhat poetic:
Today I think about what
I can't always have:
Time to myself or
just a trip to the toilet
without an interruption.
But then I wouldn't have stories 
to tell about my daughter
bringing me a "privacy"
in the form of a tampon
from under the sink.
This piece may become a poem to publish, or it may just be thoughts that needed to get out.
I don't know. A poem hasn't spoken to me yet.
What writing advice can you give?
I have a few snippets of advice.
1. Know you are a writer. Some people are strong enough to know it intrinsically - others, like me, need outside feedback to remind us we are writers at heart. I have a quill tattoo on my right wrist to remind me that no matter what job I have in this life, I am, at heart, a writer. 
2. Denials are normal. Out of my 128 submissions on my Submittable account, only 11 are "Accepted." 81 are "Denied."

3. Be daring enough to look inside yourself for inspiration. Sit in a quiet room and feel your pulse. Search within your memories to create inspirational prompts and stories.

Can you create a short writing prompt?
Object poem.

Look in your purse, pockets or desk for an object. 
A small object works best. 
What does the object feel in relation to the people it is surrounded by? 
What does the object want us to know about it?
What secrets can the object tell about its owner?

Write a poem from the object's point of view.

Look Where She Points
by Emily Vieweg

This is the first chapbook by poet/playwright Emily Vieweg. This work examines the often conflicting roles of parenthood with attempting to maintaining a career, as well as seeing things in a swirling state of confusion. Toys, meals, clothes, and other bits of life tossed over manuscripts, opened books, and incomplete thoughts. As well, the author experiments with form: some of the poems are distinctly "concrete". A great launch to Ms. Vieweg's writing career!

Where Emily’s book is sold
Plan B Press

Emily Vieweg