Join us at the SEAD Gallery and Bookshop as we welcome Teri Metcalf, author of Chicken Poop for the Soul and Rambler Rose, on February 15th from 6:30 – 8PM. Metcalf will be focusing primarily on her experience writing Rambler Rose, which won Best Autobiography of 2015 by the Texas Association of Authors. A California coming of age story, Rambler Rose, discusses life in the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s, and the influences of American culture on her life. To know more about her inspirations and background, we interviewed Metcalf before she joins us for this bi-monthly author talk.
- When did you become interested in writing?
I’ve enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember. Even in the dark ages when I used a typewriter and whiteout, I enjoyed writing. With the advent of the word processor, and the ease of revision, I began to enjoy it even more.
- What made you decide to write a memoir?
Several years ago, a distant cousin wrote a history of our extended California family. One of my sons suggested that I write a history of our branch of the family tree. When I learned how easy it was to self-publish, I first wrote a little book about our experiences with backyard chickens that I called, “Chicken Poop for the Soul.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was a kind of memoir. I received enough positive feedback for Chicken Poop that I embarked on the memoir “Rambler Rose” about growing up in California.
- What was the most rewarding and most difficult part of the writing process for you?
It’s rewarding to receive positive feedback from readers, even if I don’t know them. To know that my story has somehow resonated with others, and brought them to reflect on their experiences is extremely rewarding. It’s also rewarding to gain fresh insights about my experiences after writing about them. For example, after writing about my relationship with my mother, I gained an understanding about her that I had been oblivious to when I was younger.
The most difficult part of the process is writing about difficult experiences. The intensity of stirring up old memories and writing about difficult times in my life is emotionally draining. Writing about some things that happened 60 years ago can still bring tears to my eyes.
- How do you get over writer’s block?
Getting started is usually the most difficult for me. Whether it’s a new project or a new chapter, it’s hard to get going. But once I get started I become so focused and it’s hard to do anything else. So I try to get other chores done first thing in the morning. Sometimes I land up totally rewriting what I started out with, but that’s often easier than starting with a blank page. So my advice is to just do it! You can always go back and revise.
- If you could give any advice to someone who is just beginning to write, what would it be?
As I said above, just do it. Just start writing. It doesn’t matter where you start. There’s a book called, “Write Your Novel From the Middle.” I’m not sure I would follow that advice exactly. But you can fill in the back story later. Let what you’ve written ferment a few days. Then sit back, have a glass of wine, and see where you need to go from there.
We are so excited to welcome Metcalf into the SEAD Gallery to share with us her stories and experiences. Join us on Thursday from 6:30 – 8PM to dive deeper into the world of this award-winning author.