Previous Writer to Writer Mentees
Spring 2015 Session
Khara House is a poet and writer currently living in Northern Arizona, where she works as an apartment community manager. Between rambling written musings and random karaoke sessions, she invests her time in learning as much as she can, as often as she can. You can learn more about Khara and her writing on her website, Our Lost Jungle (www.kharahouse.com).
Khara worked with writer Lisa C. Taylor.
What were your goals for this program, and how did you communicate them to your mentor?
In participating in the AWP Writer to Writer program, I hoped to rekindle my writing life, and I definitely did! I shared my goals with my mentor upfront, and she worked hard to ensure we made progress on each one as the program progressed. I now have a ton of new material, and even more new inspiration to continue creating.
How would you describe the matching process and how well matched you were with your mentor?
There’s something wonderful about knowing that out of a full field of writers, someone picked you. Being matched with my mentor was amazing, especially as time went by and I began to realize just how well aligned we were when it came to writing. It was like discovering my inner voice in the form of another person.
Was there a specific time you felt that you and your mentor "clicked"?
As I realized the commonalities between what I was hoping to do and the path my mentor had already taken, I started to recognize just how invaluable her insights were, and just how grateful I was that this program gave me a chance to discover both her and, through her, new paths for myself as a writer.
What advice do you have for people entering the program next?
Come into the program knowing what you want, but also come to the program knowing that what you want will change, and that surprises will emerge along the way!
What is something that happened during the session that you did not expect?
I wound up writing a lot of poems that surprised me, going in directions that I didn’t expect and finding new ways of expressing old and seemingly familiar ideas. I discovered that I had more to say than I thought.
In what ways did this experience differ from, say, taking a creative writing class or workshop?
It’s a lot more intimate than a class or workshop, because you’re not necessarily riding the wave of other voices. I’ve found that courses are often, intentionally or not, competitive grounds; in the Writer to Writer program, your main competition is yourself, and finding the freedom to go beyond the familiar you’ve written before to discover newness of voice and a new way to think about your own and the wider world of writing.
How has this experience helped your writing or work process?
I was reminded that in order to be a writer, you have to write…and in order to write, you have to make time for it! It’s not easy, but it’s so worthwhile!
Where will you and your mentor go from here, following the formal conclusion of the program?
I’m excited to revisit the modules and the communications between myself and my mentor, to continue the process of discovering and rediscovering myself as a writer. I realize that through this program I’ve found myself on a new writing path, and it’s exciting to know that I have no idea where it leads, but that every word written is another step forward down it.