Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Writer Wednesday - Kristin Maffei

After gazing at my blogroll last month, I realized that not only was it sadly out-of-date and not terribly informative, it also couldn't hold all of my awesome friends by its nature.  Many of them aren't bloggers, but are still incredible writers, and I wanted a place to feature everyone.  Enter Writer Wednesday.  I emailed all my nearest and dearest, my favorite bloggers and writers and people, and asked if I could bother them with six questions.  I was overwhelmed with the positive response, and I can't wait to start featuring the interviews next Wednesday.  In this space, you'll find poets, food bloggers, playwrights, fitness enthusiasts, fiction writers, and a whole host of other people I love to read.  For the inaugural post, though, it seemed only fitting that I answer the questions myself.  I hope you enjoy, and if you're interested in submitting an interview, I'd love to hear about it!  The questions are all below, so all I need are your answers and a photo to feature with them.

(c) Erica Quinn 2012

Who are you? I'm Kristin Maffei, and I like to describe myself in 140 characters or less as a reader, writer, wanderer.  I spend most of my free time doing at least one of those things, and they're where I feel most at home.  Hand me some paper, a book, or a ticket to someplace new, and I'm a happy lady.

Where can you be found online?  Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work?  If so, how would you describe it to a stranger you've just met while on vacation?  Remember, you're in a hot tub with them on a clear cold night, stars twinkling above you.  They want all the details.  If not, tell the hot-tub-stranger about your writing in such a way that makes them urge you to get an online receptacle for it. First, I should note that I actually really hate talking to strangers in hot tubs, but I like hot tubs so much that I'll bear the conversation for more time soaking.  

I blog here at Not Intent on Arriving, which is really where I keep all my personal thoughts.  It's not quite a personal as my livejournal was back in 2004, but it's also not as professional as my writing website.  I like to think of it as a place where I can be a better version of myself, without having to impress anyone.  It's my very own Adventure Book, too, since I like to record the details of all my trips on it. 

My writing website holds a record of all of my publications, and I've started posting information about my writing life there, as well.  You can find samples of my writing in my portfolio there and read for yourself, but because you asked, hot-tub-stranger, my work focuses on liminal spaces.  I first came across the idea of the liminal while reading Derrida at Oxford, and I realized almost instantly what I'd been striving for in my work.  My poems cover the seashore, the museum, the airplane, and also early American history.  The town where I grew up used to be a resort town, so the suburbs of my youth feel liminal in more ways than one, too.  As someone who feels frequently in transition, writing into these spaces allows me to explore emotions that might otherwise feel trite.  I also write what I like to call "humanist journalism," or nonfiction with a focus on the human story behind any given event.  Finally, now that I've written this all out, I'm going to challenge myself to write a sentence more pretentious than "I first came across the idea of the liminal while reading Derrida at Oxford."

What inspired you to start writing/blogging?  When did it happen? Poetry's been my drug of choice since fourth grade, when I had a much greater appreciation for rhyme than I do now (though slightly less nuanced, I'll admit).  I've been "blogging" since I had a geocities website in 2002.  I've always been slow to catch on to new things, so when all my friends got livejournal, I wrote everything on the geocities site I'd set up, and deleted it when I was ready to write something new.  I've always been a terrible hoarder of my own work, and so it felt liberating to delete something forever.  Since then, my blogging has taken different forms, from the excruciatingly personal livejournal to my brief stint reviewing everything with friends in 2009, to the masterpiece you have in front of you.  This one started when I visited Iceland and wanted a place to share all the adventures there.

Why do you write? This is the easiest question on here.  I do it because it's what I do.  I've had periods where I didn't write very much, but since authoring my very first book, a wallpaper-bound volume about visiting Sea World and touching Shamu in first grade, I don't think I've ever gone more than six months without writing something creative.

Your writing inspires me.  Who inspires you? Well, duh, everyone who is about to be featured in this space.  And I feel very inspired by my family, who in addition to always being supportive of my weird dreams, has modeled tenacity in every way possible, and my partner, who bought me the very first book of poetry I loved.  It made me feel as if, oh yes, this is a life I can have.  And, as I mentioned above, Derrida. ;-)

In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? I'd certainly go somewhere I'd never been for an extended trip.  I love the shorter trips we've been taking recently, but I miss two-week and six-week jaunts to far-flung places.  With the way paid time off works in this country, I don't think I'll have another one of those trips for some time.  But, if I can dream, I think I would backpack around the world for a year or two.  I'd love to see Norway, India, Tanzania, and China, among, of course, many other places.  Also, if we could do anything about letting me see the Aurora Borealis, that is something I've been thinking about since 1992, kthnx.

What is your favorite place on earth? Home.  I seriously love being at home with my kitchen table and my couch and my books and not a lot of pressure to do anything I don't want to do.  Related: my parents' home.  Semi-related: Rhode Island, home of my childhood summers.

Anything else you'd like us to know? Just that I'm incredibly excited to start this feature! And, that like all parts of my life, I wanted to fill this interview with all poetry, but it ended up being less about that than I'd hoped. 


  1. Ktin,

    This is amazing. Thank you so much for your intentional posting in this space, and for leading by example. I'm so excited for this series!

  2. YAY!!!! I am excited to read everyone's responses! :)