Meet the Writer: Dawn Raffel

I want to thank Dawn for answering my questions. Read more about Dawn here! Also, check out her memoir, The Secret Life of Objects, from Jaded Ibis Press, recommended by O, Oprah Magazine!

What was the first story you remember writing about?

Well, the first thing I remember writing, in sixth grade, was a very long (rhyming) poem about a creek near our house that was being destroyed by developers. I somehow thought that by writing a poem I could stop this!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Aside from a brief, misguided period of wanting to act, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. My mother used to comment that as a child I slept with a book instead of a stuffed animal.

Do you think writing is taught, that we know how to do it instinctively, or both? Why?

So much of being a writer has to do with the way you process your experiences, and also with certain obsessions—for story or for language, or both. That can’t be taught. But you can teach narrative strategies and good writing habits, and you can offer a student other practical tools.

What was your least favorite class at any point in your education? Why?

First grade. I  had a teacher who ripped up a writing assignment that I was completely absorbed in working on in class — I was taking too long and the other children had finished and moved on to recess. She was angry that she had to wait for me. Later, she was fired for slapping several students. I believe that was her first and last year of teaching!

Are you reading anything right now?

Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours by Luke Goebel. And I just finished Brandon Hobson’s beautiful Deep Ellum.

Are you writing anything right now?

Yes, and it’s kicking my butt. Enough said.


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