Today my guest is author Diana Raab.
Diana is a memoirist, essayist and poet whose most recent release is Dear Anais: My Life in Poems for You, a tribute to Anais Nin.
Here is my interview with Diana:
Where do you find your inspiration for writing?
I find my inspiration in living life and through my own personal observations. A lot of my inspiration comes from reading the works of other great writers and by traveling around the world.
What inspired you to write Dear Anais: My Life in Poems for You?
Anais Nin has been a huge source of inspiration for me. We were both avid journal-keepers and began journaling to help us cope with a loss in our lives. She lost her beloved father and I lost my grandmother to suicide. Reading Nin’s journals helped me find my writing voice and I was sorry to have never met her. Dedicating my poetry collection to her was my way to thank her.
In 2008 I was invited to an event in Los Angeles to celebrate what would have been Nin’s 105th birthday. Many of her friends spoke about her at the event. I was amazed how many people she had inspired, one of whom was Tristine Rainer, who actually wrote the book’s preface.
Some of your writing seems to be very personal or come from your own personal journal. Do you find these difficult to share with others?
The poems lifted from my journal are the ones I feel comfortable sharing. When you make the decision to be a writer, or rather, when the writing decides to take you, it means being exposed and hanging your precious underwear on the line. That’s just the nature of the profession.
What is the best aspect about being a writer?
Sharing my thoughts on the page and being published.
Is there something you’d like to write, but haven’t yet?
I would like to write a novel. To me fiction seems daunting, although I’ve been told I have a very vivid imagination. In February I will be moderating a panel at AWP in Chicago called, “Writing in Multiple Genres,” and my hope is that some of my panelists will inspire me to get back to the novel I began many years ago which now sits in my desk drawer.
Who inspired you as a writer?
My mother and my grandmother. My mother bought me my first journal after my grandmother took her life in my childhood home. It was a great way to cope with the loss (My recent memoir, Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal, is based on that event). Also, my mother was an English major and reading was very important in our house. She took me to the library every week to check out as many books as I liked. When I was six years old, my grandmother taught me how to type on her Remington Typewriter. I wrote my first story on it. Also, my English teacher in sixth grade told me I was a good writer…I think that his words stuck in my memory all these years, even though I studied nursing and was a medical writer for many years.
In terms of my poetry, it was Billy Collins who inspired me to write poetry. I had attended one of his readings while working on my MFA. What I admired most about Billy’s poetry was its accessibility and strong sense of humor.
What do you like to read?
I read a lot of nonfiction and poetry books. I also love reading The New Yorker. I like the fact that it has many genres under one cover—poetry, fiction and nonfiction.
Discuss your work habits.
I work every day and all day long. Writing is my passion. I usually work on more than one project at a time. It keeps me going and keeps my life interesting. This year I have a book coming out called, Writers and Their Notebooks. I am the editor of this anthology which includes essays from well-known writers about how there notebooks have informed their writing.
Thank you for that great interview.
Readers, you can learn more about Diana and her work at her website: http://www.dianaraab.com