Something Like The Desert - Kristen Hedges
Featured book for the TRIBE de MAMA BooKlub for February 2016
By KC Brezina
Working with Kristen after reading her book was so rad and almost strange, because I honestly felt as if I had already bonded with her through her experiences in Something Like The Desert. I feel privileged to have been able to connect with her through this tribe of amazing women and to work with her on something so amazing. The following is an excerpt from her website, and our interview.
"i'm kristen. a writer, an introvert, a mama bird. i live in the crooked pines of california with my husband & my daughter. i am here to make you feel warm. to soften and soothe all the tender spaces in your ribs. in my writing, i share honest, intimate and altogether ordinary tales about our sleepy little life, and the characters i meet.
i believe in the profound power of storytelling. in the sacredness of a common moment - something slow and warm and familiar, like the sound of a humming kettle, the soil-sweet smell of ground coffee beans, the way the light looks more milky on a sunday afternoon. my hope is that my stories may remind you to slow down, and to notice. feel me here, inviting you in, pouring you something warm to drink. sweet you, in all of your wild messiness and uncertainty, you are not alone."
Are there any writers who have inspired you in your life as a writer and mother?
Absolutely! Ray Bradbury has always been one of my favorite authors. I listened to one of his short stories, The Veldt, when I was in fifth grade. It was on an audio tape, and was recorded as if it were a movie, rather than just someone reading aloud - fit with background noises & character voices and all. I fell in love with the way he described moments - the way he cradled details so delicately. I also love Barbara Kingsolver for the same reasons, really.
What is it like balancing being a published author and caring for your daughter?
It’s wild! The most difficult thing has been time, of course. I have to make sure that I get out of the house, away from my husband and the baby, so that I can (kind of) turn my mother brain off. It’s been an incredible blessing to be both, too. I’ve been introduced to such a brilliant, passionate, gentle community of mother writers.
How has TRIBE de MAMA influenced your life as a mother and writer?
TRIBE de MAMA has been a beautiful resource for so many different things. There is nothing quite like the sense of community that the group inspires - it feels more like a physical place than a virtual collection. It’s the first place I turn when I need advice or simple solidarity.
Would you share with us a ritual of yours when writing?
I’ve found that ritual is incredibly important in my writing practice. I pour myself something hot and creamy, uncap my favorite black pen, crack open a Moleskine notebook, breathe in, and begin. I try to write without editing, at least in the beginning. The good stories live somewhere in all of the haze that pours from you. A book I swear by to assist in writing as a spiritual practice is Writing from the Bones - it’s a gem!
What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your book?
Releasing the stories in Something Like The Desert out into the world wasn’t easy, and I really thought it would be. But they were so fixed to my being. I remember the moment I published - I hit a button, the computer loaded a final screen, and it was done. It could be purchased, shipped, unwrapped, read. I felt entirely naked. It was like running in the wind without clothes on. But in the same breath, publishing stories that are so intimate truly helped me to release them - to heal from the trauma they may have been causing me.
Kristen's stories are unbelievably beautiful; she weaves magical stories with her words and creates the most amazing imagery. I can close my eyes and see what she's talking about, the people, the places, and the emotions. Her stories strike home, I found myself thinking about her stories after I closed the cover, especially Jerry and his words on Alzheimer’s and the mysterious Charlotte lighting up her cigarette.
You can connect with Kristen through her Instagram @happysleepyfolks