Hi! What is this for?
Hey there! This is an exercise in getting myself to create more on a regular basis. Here’s my schedule:
- Monday or Tuesday: Creative nonfiction personal essay time! I write about something real that’s on my mind this week. (It may not be strictly creative nonfiction, but that’s generally the goal.)
- Friday/Saturday/Sunday: I publish some kind of creative response to the above. It might be stories, comics, photography, videos, art, whatever. The goal is to make it happen on a regular basis, and to experiment.
It doesn’t always happen as planned. But that’s okay: slavishness to a schedule isn’t always actually discipline. (Right now, for instance, I’m enmeshed in a serialized novel that goes up here week by week. Give it a look-see! It’s called Innogen and the Hungry Half, and I hope you enjoy it.)
So who are you?
I’m Esther. I’m 28, I live in Chicago and I’ve been creative my whole life. I love dogs, good food and improv comedy. I’m overeducated and need somewhere to put it all.
Magpie & Whale?
I know, I know. Classic hipster pairing of two disparate nouns equals self-indulgent blog name. I’ve got my reasons, though.
Once upon a time in 2003, I went to go hear Neil Gaiman give a talk. He said something that really stuck with me, even then, which was this: “If you’re an author, you’re a magpie. You pick up the glittery things and take them back to your nest.” What he was saying was that storytellers steal everything, because they’re always paying attention. One of my best friends has been calling me a magpie for years. I have the problem of being interested in everything. It can make decision-making difficult on occasion.
On the other hand, I can get obsessive about things too. When a topic snags me, it snags me fast and drags me under in the blink of an eye, and I stay interested for months, even years at a time. When I was little, it was things like bugs and The Lion King and the American Civil War. These days, it’s things like oral histories and TV shows and independent comics. I learn everything I possibly can about them; I expound on them, I write about them, I buy books, I watch DVDs on endless loop. I go deep, is what I’m saying. And one of my earliest obsessions, one that still fascinates me no end, is the whale. Whales are great. Everyone should learn about them.
So now you know that about me. Magpie and whale.
Why do you say this is an experiment in collage?
I don’t believe in muses. I never really have, but Dale Pesmen convinced me that juxtaposition is how we see the world in new ways. It means that the artist isn’t some tortured vessel inhabited by outside forces; it means that we’re whole, interesting people who engage with other whole, interesting people and things to make something new with pieces from both. I feel like that’s a much healthier way to frame yourself, and it’s also the one that seems truest to me.