“More important than a desk is a room where I can close the door…”
GEMINI INK: How do you work?
LAURA VAN PROOYEN: At my best, I write daily around 5 or 6 a.m. Because I was on the road a lot this summer, I fell out of this routine. I look forward to this fall to reestablish my pattern.
GEMINI INK: What theme or symbol keeps emerging in your work? Why?
LAURA VAN PROOYEN: My latest book manuscript, Our House Was on Fire, is riddled with birds. I either have to thank or blame a writing residency at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, IL where I happened upon a bird banding field team from a local university. I joined this team for 10 days, learning how to handle, identify, and band birds. For a long time after that, birds appeared left and right in my work.
GEMINI INK: Describe your first writing desk.
LAURA VAN PROOYEN: I’ve never had a writing desk. I write in my favorite ripped up chair that currently is in our guest room. I suppose I like the mobility of my laptop and notebook. When I tire of the room, I go to a coffee shop or to the library. Mostly, though, I like to write from my comfy chair, where I can access my bookshelf and chill with my cats. More important than a desk is a room where I can close the door.
GEMINI INK: What is integral to your method of writing?
LAURA VAN PROOYEN: I write best when I can look outside. Windows or access to the outdoors is key for me.
GEMINI INK: What is your next project?
LAURA VAN PROOYEN: When birds and other recurring figures refused to stop appearing in my work, I decided I needed to shift gears. I self-imposed a mandate for new poems: no husbands, no daughters, no birds. The result is a series of poems loosely based on childhood memories and an elusive character from my history named Frances. It’s exciting to write from a place that feels mysterious to me.
GEMINI INK: What is one way to jump start your creativity?
LAURA VAN PROOYEN: Show up and trust the process. Play.