Better Prose Through Poetry: 5 Questions for Charlotte Gullick

“I go back to the original reason I got started: I love stories and how they can pull me into other worlds and other perspectives.” -Charlotte Gullick

Charlotte Gullick is a novelist, essayist, editor, and educator. She is a first generation college graduate and holds a MA in Creative Nonfiction (Institute of American Indian Arts) and a MA in English/Creative Writing (UC Davis). Her nonfiction has appeared in The Rumpus, Brevity, The Best of Brevity, Pembroke, Dogwood, Barnstorm Journal, and the LA Review. Her other awards include a Christopher Isherwood Fiction Fellowship, a Colorado Council on the Arts Poetry Fellowship, Grand Prize from the Santa Fe Writers Project, residencies at MacDowell Colony and Ragdale, the Evergreen State College 2012 Teacher Excellence Award, and the Gold Star for Teaching and Mentorship from American Short Fiction.

On Saturday, March 30, Charlotte Gullick is teaching a class for the WLT called “Better Prose Through Poetry. In this class, you’ll focus on specific poetic tools such as rhythm, repetition, and alliteration to seed, deepen, and refine new and in-progress writing.

Here’s what Charlotte had to share with us:

Scribe: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you write? How did you come to writing?

Charlotte Gullick: I write because it helps me find my meaning in the world. I started writing because when I first went to college, I was so out of my element (I’m from a town of two hundred people), so I started returning to the stories I grew up with.

Scribe: In your own work, how do you approach overcoming the challenges that come with writing, be it writer’s block or craft or business-related challenges?

CG: These days, there are three things I do to help me stick me with any element of the writing life:

1) Be grateful for the ways writing has enhanced my life, how it has created path for meeting new people or insights.

2) Read other writers. I go back to the original reason I got started: I love stories and how they can pull me into other worlds and other perspectives.

3) Journal on how the current project is important to me: what value can this piece offer the world? That sense of value and meaning can help me work through most if not all barriers.

 Scribe: Has there been a moment of epiphany in terms of your work, when you thought, “This is it! Now I know what I’m doing?” How long did that feeling last?

CG: That feeling has come every now and then, and it was the best 7 seconds of my life! It’s rare for me to have that kind of certainty; most of the time, it feels like I’m moving in a direction of maybe knowing, of maybe finding the right phrase or image – and I’ve learned to trust that movement.

Scribe: What piece of advice do you find yourself giving to writers again and again?

CG: That there are three personas when we write: the child, the architect, and the judge. The child will take risks, color outside the lines, say the thing that an adult would not. The architect looks at structure and order, and the judge critically evaluates everything. It’s important to know which persona you need when; if all three are present, we can become paralyzed.

Scribe: What is one thing that people will take away from this class?

CG: Participants will take away a deeper understanding of the poetic tools available to them as prose writers – the class will be fun, generative, and confidence building.

Thanks, Charlotte!

Click here to learn more about Charlotte Gullick’s upcoming class.

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