I am interested in building power and voice with language, and in writing personal stories that push the boundaries of self. I’m obsessed with narrative persona, as well as the narrative modes required to shape a story. I loved braided essays and hybrid memoirs, where the story is larger than the self. Another obsession is creative writing pedagogy, which I work on with writers who want to teach.
I work with my nonfiction writers via email, on the phone, over Zoom, however they need to work. “Who is this person writing the piece?” I want to know, “and how can I help them fulfill their intention and vision for the work?” I listen carefully—I’m a deeply intuitive writer—because writers often say out loud what they have neglected to say on the page. Speech is important to voice, and to catching the parts of ourselves that we reveal spontaneously and without censure. These are often the most important parts of the story.
But writing is not just self-expression. The poet Billy Collins said, “Form gives you an enclosed space to work within and keep it from descending into chaos or tantrum. “ We are here not to only say what we must but to find the most effective way to say it. Artfulness comes only when one applies a shape—even in nonfiction. The separation of the author and the narrator is critical. I don’t think that demystifying the writing process has to take the magic out of it. It can add to the awe.
For more information about Janet, visit her website: www.janetpocorobba.com