Meet Elizabeth Pszczolko
How long have you been a member of NOWW?
Member of NOWW for over 20 years.
What do you normally write?
Genres and formats of my writing: I write mostly poetry and short fiction. Recently I’ve been trying my hand at creative non-fiction and have started a blog (www.awonderinglittlevoice.com). The posts will be short essays about things that spark my curiosity and wonder – like the tree frogs that showed up in my garden this summer or the symbolism of fire and light.
And who are some of your favourite authors?
My all-time favourite writers are Mavis Gallant and Bruno Schulz. I love Gallant’s subtlety and humour; her stories seem to unfold so naturally, you are not aware of any art or forced structure. On the other end of the realism spectrum, Schulz, a Polish Jew, described everyday life in a small, provincial town in the early 1900s as a journey through a mythical labyrinth where beds “disordered from the weight of dreams” stand “like deep boats waiting to sail into the dank and confusing labyrinths of some dark starless Venice.” He captures the magical thinking of a child’s mind like no other writer I’ve come across. I also like Colm Toibin, Don Delillo, Michael Christie, Frances Itani, and Neil Gaimen. There are many others. In general, I like writing that has a unique perspective or voice, and I don’t mind if there isn’t much plot as long as I feel the characters are real, if perhaps enigmatic, people.
Let’s get to know you a bit better. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I started writing, well, when I first learned how to make letters on a page. Journals, scrapbooks with notes and pictures of what I’d seen in nature. I was part of the Pulp Fiction Writers years ago – a group of us had so enjoyed one of Rosalind Maki’s writing courses at Con College, we got together to self-publish several chapbooks of our work. I’ve submitted several entries to the NOWW contest. (got 3rd in poetry in 2010!). My goals now are to go back to some work I think is worth revising, see what I can do to improve it and finding a home for it, and work on my blog of course. I write almost everyday, even if it’s a simple journal entry. And I follow Jo Fiorito’s advice and keep a journal of what I’m reading – what I like about it, what does or doesn’t work for me. My biggest challenge is fighting writer’s block – that cloud of razors in my brain that shreds to pieces any new idea as soon as it appears. Two things that help: reading poetry first thing in the morning (NOT the news) and forcing myself to write “pages” as I call them – just sitting down with a pad of paper and filling two to three pages with whatever comes to mind.
And where does your inspiration come from?
I’m inspired by nature and science. I like people watching too and am a bit mystified by today’s identity politics. How can you sum up a person with a few labels? Each one of us is a mix of contradictions and mysteries that defy labeling and can only be expressed through good art, like some of the writers I’ve mentioned above have the ability to do.
Can we see you at any upcoming NOWW events?
I’m looking forward to NOWWs upcoming workshops. I always come away inspired, ready to face another blank page.
Where can we learn more about you and your writing?
(See blog mentioned above)
And to end things off, tell us something surprising about yourself.
Surprising fact: In my next life I’d like to come back as a jazz pianist.
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Welcome to our NOWW Blog, made up of a collection of stories, reviews and articles written by our NOWW Members.