I know that there are many writers with regulated schedules, but alas, I am not one of those. I write when I have time—which might be anytime. I will say that mornings with a cup of strong green tea are wonderful writing hours.
GEMINI INK: What theme or symbol keeps emerging in your work? Why?
JULIE METZ: I try to uncover some truth in my past to find freedom in the present. That urge just bubbles up no matter what topic I set myself.
GEMINI INK: Describe your first writing desk.
JULIE METZ: So far it’s still my desk. It’s a small writing desk I bought at auction years ago. Kind of old-fashioned and maybe a bit too small now, but it feels cozy.
GEMINI INK: How do you mentally get into a space for writing?
JULIE METZ: I make sure my morning chores are done so that they won’t distract me. We all have our weaknesses…mine is that since I work at home, I cannot stand seeing disorder around me when I am trying to create something that often feels out of control.
GEMINI INK: What music are you listening to now?
JULIE METZ: I can only listen to music without words when I write. My tastes are eclectic to say the least…the tunes of any day might range from bluegrass to jazz to wailing blues to Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony.
GEMINI INK: Do you have any secret rituals you perform before you get started writing–tics, habits, special ceremonies? How important is it to you to have a sense of sameness about your writing routine?
JULIE METZ: I am not an observant person but I have been known to say a quiet prayer to the universe.
GEMINI INK: Do you have any special charms, talismans or souvenirs in your workspace? What and Why?
JULIE METZ: I am working on a book about my mom—I keep two photos on my desk that I look at often. One is my grandmother (whom I never met) dressed as Flora, Goddess of Spring for a costume ball in Vienna sometime around 1920. I love to imagine this woman I never met who clearly had a great sense of humor and vitality. The second photo is of this same grandmother and my mother relaxing in Maine in 1956 or so. You can tell so much about their relationship in this photo, how close they were. Sometimes I try to imagine that I am sitting there too. I have a well-worn pebble I found in a pocket of one of my mom’s coats after she died, a stone she had rubbed to a shine. I have two small figurines: Ganesh (remover of obstacles) and a Buddha made of pink rubber (who makes me smile). I also have an origami cat that my daughter made for me when she was young. She wrote on it: “You’re great! You’re the best mom ever!” Hey, we all need a cheerleader.
GEMINI INK: What is your favorite piece of writing advice?
JULIE METZ: I think Anne Lamott’s advice in Bird by Bird is the best: Try to write something every day, even if it’s a paragraph. Give yourself small tasks and keep at it. When you will look back in a few months you’ll see that you’ve accomplished a lot. Keep a notebook or 3 x 5 cards handy because you never know when you will get a great idea.
GEMINI INK: Does good writing result from best practices, magic or both?
JULIE METZ: There is no magic. You just have to keep at it. Ok, maybe there is magic, but it won’t happen unless you are sitting at your desk, or sitting somewhere else with a notebook handy or taking a walk, with a notebook in your pocket. You have to be ready to meet your inspiration like a friend when it arrives from out of the blue.