We are pleased to spotlight A. Jordan.
- How long have you been a member of the KWG? About a year.
- What kind of writing do you do? Fiction and poetry.
- What project are you working on now? I’m working on a story about rural Appalachia, gender identity, queerness, and intergenerational trauma.
- What is your writing goal? To finish my novel.
- Awards, prizes, or writer feel-good moments? I had a poem published in the first volume of “Electric Dirt: A Celebration of Queer Voices and Identities From Appalachia and the South.” I love the work being done by Queer Appalachia and am proud of being a part of that, in whatever small way. I believe so strongly in our resilience and magic.
- Who inspired you to write? How did this person inspire you? I have a lot of answers to this, but I’ll give two. Anne Frank, whose diary I read when I was about nine years old. I was inspired by her bravery and truth-telling. The other person is Todd Ristau, who I am fortunate to have had as an instructor when I was earning my BA in the early 2000s. Todd believed in me and my work, and helped to give me a platform to explore that work through No Shame Theater. Aside from that, Todd is creative person doing challenging work in the mountains of Virginia, something that I didn’t know was possible when I was 18 years old. His play “The Verbena Rowan Museum” blew my mind.
- What KWG programs or workshops stand out for you? Why did they stand out? I’m a member of a fiction writing group, and it has been a kind of lifeboat for me. Creative work can be lonely and isolating, and it’s easy to get sucked into one’s own vision. Having allies throughout the creative process has undoubtedly strengthened my work and helped me to take myself more seriously. Being part of a creative community is invaluable.
- If you are in a KWG writing group, how has it helped? I’ve been able to look at my work from different angles to get a fresh view. That’s hard to do when you are in the middle of the process. Because I spent most of my younger years writing poetry, the group has helped me to think more deeply about long form fiction and my style.
- Do you have any writing rituals, favorite snacks or times/places to write?
- What helps when you get stuck? Routine! I’m a sucker for routine, though I’ll admit that maintaining a writing routine along with a full-time job with somewhat erratic hours is a challenge. I try my best to set daily goals, and I forgive myself when I’m not able to meet them.
- What are your favorite excuses for not writing? Reading and hiking
- What’s the best thing you’ve read lately? Trampoline by Robert Gipe
- What is your secret talent? Veganizing Appalachian Granny cooking
A. Jordan (AJ) is a social worker, writer, and proud Appalachian. They have a BA from Mary Baldwin University in English and a MSSW from University of Tennessee, Knoxville. AJ grew up in Loudon County, reading library books in sinkholes. They ran away and came home again.