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  • Elemental Conversations: Elizabeth Koch

    Elizabeth Koch has been in love with writing since her early teens, but has only recently attempted publication. Her work can be seen in the second and third issues of 3Elements Review and on her blog libsdays.blogspot.com. An Iowa farm girl at heart, she currently lives in the Kansas City, Missouri are with her husband, two kids, and a cat who doesn’t really like any of them.

    Elizabeth Koch

     

    3ER: Was there a specific element that sparked your story idea?

    EK: 6324 was the element that I found most intriguing.  I immediately wanted to know how long 6324 minutes was in hours and then how many years 6324 days would be.  When I found that it came out to about 17.5 years I imagined myself at that age and so many stories came to mind.  I also thought about the lives of many of my students who are that age.  What are they going through? How do they deal with struggles in life?  Teenagers are falling in love and finding their place in the world.  This part of life is what inspired “Geode.”

    3ER: If you could choose any 3 elements, what would they be?

    EK: tabernacle, accidental, silence

    3ER: Describe your writing process.

    EK: Once I have inspiration I just go with it.  I am a true believer of getting everything onto the page as fast as possible and then going back to clean it up.  I tend to move things around, cut out whole stanzas, and then move everything around again.  My final pieces are always significantly shorter than my originals.

    3ER: Do you write in certain place?  Do you listen to music? What are your rituals?

    EK: I write anywhere and anytime I have a chance to.  The only guaranteed time I have to myself is in my van waiting to pick up my kids from school.  This is where both of my pieces for 3Elements Review were written.

    3ER: Who are your favorite writers?

    EK: Diana Gabaldon, the writer of the Outlander Series and Tim O’Brien are my two favorites right now.  Jenny Lawson’s book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, is the funniest thing I have ever laid my hands on.

    3ER: Why do you think writing matters?

    EK: Writing matters because words are the ultimate connection to ourselves and to our readers.  Writing helps everyone to find the real truth behind his or her thoughts and feelings.  I have never seen a student happier than when they discover that, through writing, they have found a deeper understanding of themselves or the world they are part of.

    3ER: What is the weirdest dream you’ve ever had? 

    EK: When I was a teenager I had a recurring dream about being stuck in a red room.  Everything was red, floor to ceiling.  A friend of mine climbed up a ladder and opened a window from the outside so that I could escape.

    3ER: Where can we read more of your work? 

    EK: You can find me at www.libsdays.blogspot.com.

    Here is an excerpt from Elizabeth’s poem, Geode, out now in issue 3:

    you call me your geode

    I’ve cracked open

    but only for you

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    Elemental Conversations: Nicholas Petrone

    Nicholas Petrone’s poems can be found in many places, including The View From HereWillows Wept ReviewThe Ranfurly ReviewPoetry SuperhighwayWord SaladAnalog PressEpiphany MagazineEveryday PoetsWeird Cookies, and in overflowing boxes in his attic. You can also read his poems at Winking At The Apocalypse. He teaches American history in Syracuse, NY.

    Nicholas Petrone

    3ER: Was there a specific element that sparked your story idea?

    NP: The word “terminal” really struck me. I’d recently been listening to a lecture about Kierkegaard and Camus so needless to say my head was teeming with butterflies and rainbows.

    3ER: Describe your writing process.

    NP: Haa.

    3ER: Who are your favorite writers?

    NP: I enjoy writers who invent or master innovative approaches to written expression – Blake, Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson, Tolkien, Khaled Hosseini, Crockett Johnson, the people that do those chose your adventure books.

    3ER: What book, story, or poem do you wish you had written? Why?

    NP: Goodnight Moon.

    3ER: Why do you think writing matters?

    NP:  It probably doesn’t. But we’ve had a hell of a good time pretending for the past few millennia.

    3ER: What is the weirdest dream you’ve ever had? 

    NP: I was in this weird alternate universe where no one read Dan Brown and I was surrounded by editors desperate to publish my novel.

    3ER: Where can we read more of your work? 

    NP: Straight Forward PoetryWillows Wept Review, The View From Here, to name a few. Also at www.winkingattheapocalypse.blogspot.com

    Here is an excerpt from Nick’s poem, What’s on?, out now in issue 3:

    there are 6324 gods and goddesses

    in my head alone

    devoted to diminishing this fear

    of standing bare in the waning light.

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    May Writer’s Horoscope

    Aries (fire): You’ll feel like wildfire this month, Aries. Use that smoldering in your loins to set your keyboard or composition book aflame with the flint sparks from your fiery writing. In other words, forego the great American novel for a short tryst with the erotica you’ve secretly planned since the unfathomable success of the recent “shady” New York Times bestselling trilogy—you know, the one that attracts readers with higher hormone levels than IQs . Hey–why should you be working so hard to produce gorgeous prose when there’s so much money in poorly written smut?

    Taurus (earth): You are truculent this month, Taurus. Everywhere you go, you’ll butt heads with someone, if not everyone. Something in your magnetism repels others, and most people will strike you as narcissistic and self-serving (especially Scorpios with their penchant for histrionics). Therefore, May is an excellent month to barricade yourself in your room to write angry missives or despondent poetry from your bed, naked. Purchase ice cream. Whatever you do (and you should concentrate on your basest needs), do it alone. Nobody wants you around, and your writing will be better for the solitude.

    Gemini (air): You will do some of your best writing this month, Gemini. Both twins are happy—one wildly productive, the other gregarious and social. Therefore, May is a fantastic month to write in public. Hightail it to the nearest coffee shop and get prolific. The work you start this month will be important to your writing career. Plus, someone gorgeous is going to notice you while you are up to your elbows in that novel. That someone will be impressed by your commitment and passion (and could be “the one”). Dress to attract attention.

    Cancer (water): You need to re-evaluate those writing projects, Cancer. They aren’t going anywhere, are they? You’ve either taken an unwise detour from your intended path or misled your higher self onto your current unfruitful one. Either way, old and current writing projects will prove to be a dead ends and should be abandoned now, rather than later. You’ll need to spend time in quiet meditation to find the best project or genre for you. Whatever you do, embrace the new idea that makes your heart flutter rather than revisit old ones that you never quite got off the ground. A new idea this month could mark the start of an incredible career.

    Leo (fire): You may have roared in like a prolific lion of short stories and departed like a gentle lamb of lyrical poems last month (with a crazy roller coaster of bipolar writing in between), but May is the month to develop some solid, predictable new writing habits. Leo, the standard of discipline and routine you will establish this month will determine how much writing you publish next year. Set a daily writing goal, a weekly goal for revision sessions, and a bimonthly goal for submissions. Your results will give you something to roar about!

    Virgo (earth): If you can’t find a way to stifle that harsh critic’s voice, Virgo, you will never be a writer. Stop bashing your writing (and that of others). Deep down, you’d rather inspire creativity than kill it. Instead, after your writing sessions, read your writing aloud—either to yourself, a trusted friend, or even the cat or dog. Note effective phrases by highlighting or underling them. Only after you’ve read your work for what’s working a couple of times are you allowed to release the vicious hounds of your inner critic in a typical ruthless Virgo revision/editing session. Being kinder to yourself (and others) will lead to better writing and to more fulfilling relationships.

    Libra (air): You’ve done a good job making a transition to a more creative life; however, you tend to use your creative title to get laid rather than to produce art. This month, only allow yourself to woo the objects of your affection for as many minutes (or fewer) as you actually write, and you’ll do well in increasing your productivity. You’re a nice person and possess talent as a writer, but you tend to be fickle in both love and art. Your flexible/changeable nature may actually be what makes you so popular—so find ways to capitalize on your natural chimerical charisma without breaking (too many) hearts or abandoning any good writing.

    Scorpio (water): Narcissism and your seemingly inconsistent need for constant approval are at an all-time high, Scorpio. This makes you more vulnerable artistically—which leads to one of two outcomes: either you produce profound writing that shatters expectations or you make everyone around you so miserable that your resultant shame makes it impossible for you to write anything but petty complaints and insincere apologies. Protect those who are still willing to come near you by hibernating through May. You are guaranteed a masterpiece if you can only seclude yourself this month and write. The best (perhaps only?) fruit of narcissism is self-expression. Do what you do best: exploit that!

    Sagittarius (fire): Your side of the story is a unique and compelling one. It’s time for you to consider telling it, Sagittarius. You may tend to be peaceful and reserved, but the lessons you can share with others will quietly, but powerfully transform lives. Start writing that memoir. And dig deep as you write—especially during the difficult stuff. This is where your most influential lessons are.

    Capricorn (earth): Time to break some rules, Capricorn. Even though such antics are against your nature, you need to misplace some commas and allow a run-on or two in your writing. Doing so as well as mixing some mayhem into your getting-to-be-humdrum life will take your writing to new places. In other words, don’t resist the opportunity to experiment. Your innate smugness has had you ramming your metaphorical horns into lots of walls, but to no avail. Allowing change and some imperfection will get you writing again.

    Aquarius (air): May is the month to get out of your head and into your heart, Aquarius. Your intellectual and unconventional approach to writing is great, but readers want emotions, too—and there’s just no way to fake them. So work on connecting emotionally in your life: fall in love, recommit to friendships, and take some emotional risks. Rekindling a life of the heart will enliven your writing. There’s more to life than ideas.

    Pisces (water): May is your month for poetry, Pisces. Neptune, your ruling planet, is plucking at your heartstrings, strumming chords of poetry throughout the month. Sit down and let him be your muse. Look for contests and send as much work out as possible. This month’s writing and submissions work will bear lots of publishing fruit.

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