Here we are again! Another Fully Awake Dreamer. Today’s Dreamer is one of the first friends I made at Uni. Jessi Tait. She is one hell of a woman and I know that she’ll bring out the read good stuff in the future. I can feel it in my bones. You may have already seen a snipper of her writing with this piece from Sharing Sunday and you know she’s good for it. Leave her a little love note down the bottom to cheer her on.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you write.
I’m a Mum first. To a 10 year old boy going on 16, Felix – light of my life. I’m hitting 40 this year, which is exciting, but has me fretting about getting this writing gig going. I’m in the process of writing a memoir/biography/social commentary about my father, his heroin addiction and eventual death by overdose. Aside from that (way heavy) I find myself drawn more and more into short story and micro fiction.
What is your burning writing desire about?
I guess I’ve learnt that social commentary is the backbone of most of my pieces, I didn’t know that about myself before. Junot Diaz says that he writes his stories because there was no one else writing them. And his voice is so distinct and so representative of a whole culture not heard in literature before. I write my stories because growing up I couldn’t find books that related to my childhood. There are now, of course, but that doesn’t stop the inner drive y’know? And hopefully, there’s a little something unique in what I have to say.
Are you working on anything right now? Can you give us a little bit of a sneak peak?
Yes, groan. I’m always working on but never finishing something it seems. Still working on the memoir thing, here’s the opening paragraph:
On winter days when the first blossoms come a month before spring, I remember you and your weary trudge at the end of days. How you slowed, and thinned. How your eyes haunted. The angles your body made as your head lay in my lap on the bathroom floor. How hungrily I watched each rise and fall of your chest. Hours and years of my life spent worrying for you.
I’m studying masters at Melbourne Uni and have three creative pieces and two essays due by the end of the semester and I haven’t started on any of them yet. They are all just ideas floating in nothing concrete.
What nourishes your dreams besides writing?
Photography! Mobile photography to be precise, it’s like therapy for me. When I’m at my most despairing (with writer’s block or life) taking a long walk and capturing images is all that is needed to bring back some perspective and hope.
What inspires you?
My son, he reminds me of all that is most wonderful and aspirational in the world. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have gone back to school and chosen to follow my passion. I’d still be bartending or housekeeping or some other such hospitality thing and smothering the dream.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from writing?
Eek, big question! I’ve learned to sink into empathy, to try to understand others truly and without judgement. I’m still learning.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome when it comes to your writing?
Without a doubt, self-doubt. It’s such a vicious enemy and one I’m sure I’ll battle till the ends of time. 😉
What advice can you give to budding writers?
Learn all the rules, take them all on board even when you disagree with them. And once you’ve learned them, feel free to play around with them. Don’t be afraid to take risks! Never be afraid of constructive criticism. When it isn’t constructive, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and your writing. Be true to yourself.
Are you dreaming fully awake and how did you get there?
I’m not sure I am dreaming as fully awake as I’d like to be. I’m pursuing the dream but I don’t feel overly conscious in my creativity, I feel stuck. But I’ll keep striving to reach that nirvana. What else is there? 😉
About the Dreamer:
J.T. Tait: writer, mother, humanist, lush.