Updated: Jul 25, 2022
Hi, L, tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi Snowflake Magazine and lovely readers! I’m L, I’m a queer writer, I’m currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing and MA in English from Arcadia University, and I’m currently working on my first novel. I like to intersperse that with reading queer YA books, floral design, sewing, embroidering, jewelry making, baking and cooking, (I’m very crafty if you can’t see) and writing poetry, which is ironic because since undergrad, I’ve been mostly studying fiction. I really like reading Shakespeare, and I enjoy studying adaptations of classic texts and looking at stylistic choices that give older stories and characters new meanings, or that uncover meanings that have always been there.
Q: Where does your inspiration come from?
I’m a pretty eclectic person I think, so my inspiration comes from a lot of different things. Sometimes it comes from really deep and interesting conversations and experiences I’ve had with my loved ones, which is the basis of “Cape May, June 24, 2021.” That was my first big Pride event and I got to share it with people who mean a lot to me. On a similar note about Pride, I like musing about my identity and its various components, which you can see in “The Letter A.” Dreams and nightmares are also a powerful fuel. My first prose poem was about my ace identity, inspired by a dream I had about climbing on my neighbors’ roofs, which I swear I’ve never done. Sometimes though, I’m inspired by something unexpected like couture fashion! I wrote a poem this year about a Teuta Matoshi gown that I would love to wear while running through a castle, or a banquet hall, or hedge maze or something. Lately though, an unexpected source of inspiration has been math! I really like taking math forms and making it poetry because I think there’s an assumption that math and art are polar opposites, but finding a way to combine those I think is really fun and special.
I’ve been really into the four quad graph format that you see in “Sinking Swimming” recently, and it makes me think about how binary we see the world sometimes, but the beauty of the four quad graph is that it focuses on intersections and where different elements overlap, and with it being poetry, I can muse on one quadrant while I’m in another, and it just goes to show how interconnected everything can be which is super fascinating.
I also will say, I love looking at lit mag submission calls, especially when they have a theme, because regardless of whether or not I submit something, themes always get my brain gears turning because there’s always so much to do with just one concept.
What does your writing process look like?
I used to be really daring and just go for it in a single take, but that was really when I was first experimenting with poetry. I would draft in the notes app on my phone and call it a day. I still do first drafts in the notes app on my phone. Sometimes I get a line in my head, or an image from a prompt, and go to jot it down and build from there just to see where my initial concept takes me.
Then I let that stew for a bit. Stewing and thinking is a massive part of my process. I’m almost always thinking about writing, ideas, and revising. I’m not sure if we’ve crossed into unhealthy territory though, haha. Then when I have a more solid idea of what I want a poem to be, I usually move it to a Google doc where I work on revision and redrafting, especially if I want to try out a different format. But I never delete drafts. I always put the original in that document and do a page break when I start a new draft or revision. I like to keep track of progress and looking at drafts side by side can really pinpoint what’s working and what’s not. And if anything, it serves as a reminder that writing is a process, and that drafting, while messy, can be really fun because it allows me to experiment with so many elements of a piece. Now, I usually go through two or three drafts before I feel a poem is “done.” But there are some outliers still where I just shoot the shit in the notes app and I look at it and think “yeah I dig it!” It’s wild how much my process can vary per poem.
Where can you be found online?
I can be found on Twitter @Lamawriter1 where sometimes I talk about writing and sometimes I talk about books I’m reading, or retweet silly memes or images from the liminal space bot (which I’ve also found very creatively generative!). I can also be found In Yuzu Press’s third issue, available at https://yuzupresslit.wixsite.com/yuzu/copy-of-issue-2 and in Powder Press’s third issue, Gender, which can be found here: https://www.powderspress.com/issues.
From Snowflake Magazine, Issue #1: Beginnings:
Cape May, June 24, 2021
The sun beats down hard in the middle of June
along the Jersey shore
turning my skin from pasty to an
Apple not quite ripe.
I feel the sweat collecting under my arms,
thankful for a muscle shirt for the lessened potential of stains;
I can’t be the only one though
Maybe it’s nerves, or maybe it’s nerves, or maybe it’s the heat
But it’s an unfamiliar situation;
I hardly leave the house as is,
But “I’m with family here,” so they say.
And I look around at all the sweaty people around me:
Teens with face paint and buttons all down their clothes
Parents with youngsters teaching them the path of love is the one better taken
Older queer folks, here for the ones they lost, and more: the ones they love
One thing binds us all:
the everpresent rainbow flags
Handed out like tiaras to Genovian children
The everpresent love for our community.
My sister and best friend walk beside me
Dancing down the promenade to pop music
Waving and cheering and loving the love we all give to each other.
It’s a feeling I could stand to get used to.
When we make it to the beach at the end
I’m out of breath
My hands are sweaty from being squeezed and embraced by friends new and old.
The Letter A
A is for
The lack of / My repulsion for / The way that I push / The way that I pull / People / Being different from / Liking a well made slice of cake / Over an ass referred to as.
The way I / The fear I / Am not worth it / Do not mean much / Will never mean much / Will wither away / At a solitary table / Aged 80 / No one cares to find / Or identify. / It was all a waste.
How I don't / The way I No / My something is nothing / Not there / Not forgotten / Just not / What anyone expects / I'm not normal / I am a void.
The way I write this poem / Fragment by fragm / Unfocused / Take on too much / So many color codes / It's just a picture / Frazzled / Needs to contain my brain.
The way I can't / The way I won't / Fix myself / The nuts and bolts are / There / In Place. / Had to be screwed in myself / After years of implied / Defective / All it took was a new picture / A new diagram / For a table instead of a chair.
The fear of / Space I don't / Usually occupy. / Afraid of others / Notice I take up space / A lot of it. / Don't perceive me / I am unable to be / Comprehended in a glance. / Don't look / My way. / I want to stay Home / Today / Every day.
A is for i Am what i Am
A is for i’m Alive
i Am doing the best i can.
A note from our Fiction and Poetry Editor, Ame McLachlan:
L featured in our first issue of Snowflake Magazine, ‘Beginnings’, and was the author of my Editor’s Pick for that issue. I am a fan of L’s writing because the voice is so human – terrified yet fearless, loving yet quietly vengeful. L holds up a mirror in their poems that reflect ourselves back at us for who we are, not who we wish to be, while also saying ‘there’s beauty in that, and it is more than enough’.