It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of daily journaling. It helps me process my day, explore ideas, and practice writing. While I journal every evening, Patricia Ricketts begins her mornings with a journal. It’s in those pages she begins falling “through the cracks of reason into a fanciful world of dreams and possibilities.” Isn’t that fantastic?! I hope you enjoy Patricia’s Write Now interview. Visit her website to learn more about her debut novel, Speed of Dark, available now.
Who are you?
My name is Patricia Ricketts, and I live in Chicago, IL, in a lovely neighborhood called Lincoln Square. Currently, I am an author and a singer-songwriter; however, I was a high school AP English teacher for thirty years. Retired. Yep. And yay.
What do you write?
I love writing. Just gotta do it. Having taught English lit and comp, I have been immersed in diction and cadence, syntax and sound… forever it seems. But having recently retired, I now have the time to write topical blogs, lengthy emails, poetry [good and less-so], song lyrics, short fiction pieces, personal narratives, and… yes, novels. I began writing in early high school and used to read my pieces to my mom as she prepared dinner in the kitchen [which was one way to get out of helping]. I don’t think there’s a theme or topic I would avoid; my characters’ lives dictate what needs to be addressed. My writing is best when the spirit takes over, and my logical brain gets out of the way. I could tell you about Nona Concetta just showing up on the Metra…
Where do you write?
Ok, call me old-fashioned, but I often start journaling in a Flame Tree notebook with my Cross pen. In the mornings, of course, in a comfy chair with a cup of coffee. First, I “scat,” which often degenerates into mundane grocery lists or to-do priorities. But then, oh then, something takes over, and I fall through the cracks of reason into a fanciful world of dreams and possibilities — for characters or plotlines or bits of dialogue. And I inspire myself to head to my computer on the dining room table where my next chapter awaits me.
When do you write?
I’m mostly a morning writer with no set time, but if I get cooking, I could be writing all day. Sometimes without eating lunch, which is a real shocker for me, a three-squares-a-day woman. While I really like assignments [hey, I taught high school for thirty years!], for example, the prompts given during my sessions with the Wesley Writers’ Workshop group in Evanston, I find that warming up in my journal gives me the spark to create songs, or poems, or the start of a new chapter.
Why do you write?
Because I have to. I feel like I’m not getting enough oxygen if I haven’t written for a few days. Seriously. Motivation and inspiration come from deep-seated beliefs I want to share. Like ecological concerns. Or that we can “get by with a little help from our friends” [OK, you got me: I just watched The Beatles doc “Get Back”]. Or that Black Lives Matter. Which they do. You get the drift. So, finishing a piece, a poem, or even a novel is fueled by my desire to have others read what I’ve laid down.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
Hai karate comes to mind. I mean it. I break that block with a piercing kick by writing, even badly, but writing. And I keep writing the drivel until a conflict, a setting, a description of a character will pop up through a crack in the rabble. And suddenly, I’m free-flying into something starting to feel worthy enough to print.
Bonus: What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
A lot. In the summer, I swim in Lake Michigan, and I golf.
I do yoga and meditate year-round.
I read all the time.
I sing, play guitar, and compose/write songs.
Oh, and I do an occasional commercial, whether print, video, or VO in and around Chicago.
My thanks to Patricia Ricketts for today’s interview.