13 Questions with Brittany Wallace

by HST UK on January 11, 2012

Brittany Wallace seems like an interesting poet. Naturally HST thought it wise to speak to her, since it is 2012, and we take great pleasure from talking to writers who fill our minds with Question Marks.

Before you read the following interview, here is something to get you into the right groove.

HST: I decided to email you about doing an interview after reading a post on HTMLGIANT in which you were mentioned, your name rang a bell because your poem ‘español’ made a list of my favourite online poems in 2010. I was going to contribute that list to a lit site, but life got in the way, and I forgot to do so. Anyway, how are you, and what’s going on in your day?

I am well, thank you. I just woke up. I am eating ice cream for breakfast. I have had several days off of work. I feel good, I just need to run a lot of errands today.

HST: On your blog you made mention of putting together a little personalized package of poems, and other miscellaneous keepsakes in exchange for filthy lucre. Are you optimistic about your chances of making a little cash money?

I’ve made nearly $300 from that little blog post. That’s what I make in two weeks, sometimes. The generosity of strangers astounds me. Someone from MIT requested song lyrics that he could set to piano. I’m still working on that one.

HST: It should be said, that you are looking to raise funds in order to teach English overseas. I have friends in the Czech Republic, Peru, Thailand and Japan teaching English. Why do you want to teach?

I want to teach because children are really funny and smart. I think I could make a good teacher. I think I get along well with children because I am kind of childlike. I make strange faces and eat a lot of candy and love the feeling of becoming obsessed with a hobby. That statement sounded incredibly Schopenhauer-like and I didn’t mean that.

Also, I look around at my other options in America and feel disappointed. Ideally, I just want to live in a big house with all of my friends and build some kind of arts center together. But that takes money and time and resources that seem out of reach right now. First I need to learn not to live paycheck to paycheck, and to pay some of my loans. I want to contribute.

HST: I’m a regular listener of ‘The Mental Illness Happy Hour’, Paul Gilmartin’s podcast which mostly consist of him talking to comedians about their fuzzy thought boxes. I’ve often thought that that ‘indie lit crowd’ could put together a similar podcast. Why are writers so willing to talk about their Mental Health Issues, and what meds they consume? Do you listen to any podcasts? Who are the ‘indie lit crowd’?

I think people talk about their medications because there’s only so much you can talk about. I like when my friends keep me updated on what they are taking. It makes me feel as if I play an active role in their life. Also, the beauty of health insurance is that my brother, a muscled-up Guido pharmacist-in-training, is prescribed to about four different anti-depressants and anti-anxieties. It’s something we can joke about together. A real bonding experience.

I don’t listen to any podcasts.

The independent lit crowd is always shifting around, as far as focus goes. The beauty of online writing is that anyone with access to a blog and a desire to make some friends can make that happen. You don’t need money or social skills. Those things help, sometimes, but they aren’t necessary.

HST: You’re a prolific poster on a variety of social media platforms. What was your first experience of social media? Were you on MySpace back in the day, when everyone else was?

I remember when I was really young; I became a frequent visitor to forums that were hosted by a cutesy graphic t-shirt company. I made internet friends with strange people that I never would otherwise have met in my 2000-person town. I met three high-school students in Arizona who were all dating each other. It seemed so strange to me. The Internet made me become so much more open-minded and accepting. It also made me feel much less lonely. No one in junior high cared about my opinions, and I cared even less to engage with anyone. Online, I liked how easy the act of sharing was.

I had a Myspace. It’s still floating around there somewhere. I also had a Livejournal, a Xanga, an MTV blog, a AIM, an MSN messenger, a Napster account.

HST: Your poetry draws attention to personal faults and imperfections. Do you think about the faults and imperfections of your poetry?

Yes. My poetry is shit. It’s selfish and self-indulgent. I write poems out of habit. They’ve become pictures to me. I don’t have a camera.

HST: Tell us about your early poetry experiences online. When did you start submitting your poetry?

I started posting poetry as a teenager on Livejournal, I think. It felt so nice to not have to worry about my mother finding notebooks buried in my dresser drawers. I started to submit poems to places several years ago, I think, after I found Tao Lin’s blog, which led me to a number of blogs. I had no idea this kind of thing was going on. It seemed exciting.

HST: ‘SAFE AND OKAY’really resonated with me. It’s no coincidence that Drake titled his album ‘Take Care’ in a time when we must look out for each other. How often do you write about your friends?

I think I write about my friends almost as much as I write about myself. Making friends for the first time in college felt surreal. I felt so lucky. I can’t avoid writing about them. They are all spectacular and out of their damn minds. They are my family now and I care for them like family.

HST: Were you proud to feature in Pangur Ban Party’s Very Beautiful Women eBook?

I was. There are many very talented writers featured in VBW. Sometimes it’s easy to feel crushed by the boys. It’s nice to have a venue of your own.

HST: You frequently write about your cats. Can cats be friends with their owners in the same way that dogs are?

I prefer cats because they usually don’t jump on you. They usually don’t beg for attention. They usually are not loud or intimidating, and they usually don’t bite. They usually don’t piss or shit on the floor. They keep themselves clean and usually smell good. When they want attention, they quietly rub against you or meow in a non-threatening manner. They can be really funny. I believe cats do become dependent on their owners for entertainment and attention, which I think is a form of friendship. They are primarily independent, though. I like best the company of independent creatures.

HST: My favourite film from 2011 was ‘Drive’ starring Ryan Gosling. Yesterday I drove away from the petrol station at night, and forgot to turn my headlights on. Luckily, the roads were quiet and well lit, and I made it home safely. But, I felt stupid. This could have been a dumb mistake with dire consequences. Do you enjoy driving?

I am glad you didn’t get pulled over! Thankfully, my car has automatic lights so I don’t have to remember to turn them on. I have a 1999 Buick Century. It’s like a small boat. I like to drive, and have been lucky not to run into too much trouble doing it.

I watched Drive and enjoyed it. The man from that romance movie The Notebook was in it. I’ve never seen The Notebook. I don’t like romantic movies that much. I liked the music in Drive. I like action movies involving cars. I watched the movie Moneyball with my boyfriend last night. It was really emotional. Baseball is so emotional.

HST: In a blog post you made mention of working in Retail. Do you find it difficult to get through your shifts? Do you Daydream at work?

My job is easy. They haven’t trained me for the register so I am always in the fitting room. I carry a pile of clothing and hunt for where each item is located and put each item back where it belongs. It’s like a game I play for seven or eight hours. Sometimes I fold clothes. Sometimes I have to work at 5AM and unload boxes. I don’t have to talk very often, though. It’s easy.

Sometimes I daydream. Sometimes I work up the courage to ask my co-workers questions like, “How would you react if you opened a fitting room door to a dead body?”

HST: And finally since you were a student of fashion I was wondering if you could give me some advice. What on earth could I wear with a pair of plum red coloured trousers?

Jesus, fashion… I went to college for fashion… I think that a neutral, or a different shade of red or purple, would look nice. But really, you could wear anything. Who’s to say you can’t?


If you are interested in answering HST’s 13 Questions then contact us: aprilmaymarch777@yahoo.co.uk

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