We’ve got a lot coming up the coming weeks. Kicking off our winter courses is Maria Anderson’s Youth Writing Workshop, which begins next weekend. We’re so excited about this because it’s the first youth class we have offered, and it’s also completely full with a wait list!

I had the chance to talk a bit with Maria about her newest and oldest writing experiences. Maria and the rest of our winter instructors will be reading at our Winter Reading and Open House on Wed, January 15, 7PM at 186 Carpenter Street. Don’t miss it!

Maria, please describe your earliest writing experience and then describe your most recent writing experience. What has (or hasn’t) changed?

My earliest writing experience was with a blue pen in a hardcover cat diary that locked. The key turned out to be the same as my sister’s, and she’d sneak into my room to read it. I don’t remember much else, except that I would usually write in bed before I went to sleep. I’d feel very anxious before school the next morning. The cat diary helped me calm down.

Now, writing still has that secretive quality to it. I like this about my process. If I take out a notebook in a restaurant or write on a napkin, I tend to feel like people want to see what’s on there. They want in on this thing I’m doing. This bit of ego, of pride about what I’m up to, the notion that this is something a stranger is curious about simply because they witness the act of marking paper, is interesting to me. Even if they aren’t actually curious. The thought is enough to keep me wanting to write. Different systems of motivation are a big part of my process, like writing when I’m late, or when I’m supposed to be working. These systems help keep my daily practice strong. Unless I’m revising, sitting at a desk in a quiet room doesn’t often work for me. Except, of course, when it does.

Maria Anderson has a BA in Literary Arts from Brown University. She has extensive experience teaching English and creative writing to children ages 8-16. Her fiction and reviews have been published in The Atlas Review, NY Arts Magazine, The Fiddleback, and elsewhere.