Welcome back to our special Q&A series with Old Iron Press authors.
We are thrilled to present Playing Authors contributor, Elle Cee Wallace.
Elle Cee Wallace writes from an island in Washington State. Her most recent poem, “Why Can’t This Seem Beautiful” has been published in Free State Review. Poems have also appeared in Cold Mountain Review, Amsterdam Quarterly, San Juan Preservation Trust, SMEOP (URBAN), along with a few others. Walking in the sun and rain, feeding apples to a donkey named Berta and a horse named Mocha as they run over from the nearby farm, makes any day a happy one.
At OIP, we love the fact that everyone has their own set of “classics” (i.e., books, songs, recipes, comics, food, objects, movies, shows, etc. that shaped you). What were some of your favorite childhood classics?
The movie, Mary Poppins, (Imagination!) and the book, Charlotte’s Web. (Friendship!) I was so heart-broken when Charlotte died that my mom had to convince me to read the last chapter. I’ve re-read it three times now as an adult. And I’ve listened to William Faulkner’s Nobel Acceptance speech on an old cassette tape at least that many times.
What inspired your piece for Playing Authors?
Memories from childhood in the 1960’s with my mom and two sisters.
Favorite word / font / letter?
Je ne sais pas; The unbearable lightness of being; And.
Where would your adventure be set: underwater or in space?
Underwater, for sure! I glimpsed once a blue butterfly fish moving through rock beds under the sea, and ever since, at the oddest moments, my body floats in a half-dream beside her. When there is something we like, love, words falter; I can’t speak. It is like this. The seeing. The falling for. The drowning in brilliant color.
Snacks while you work? If yes, what’s your go-to?
I must go to summer, when I can pick blackberries from the prickly vines, one after another after another. Endless summer.
What are some of your favorite tools-of-the-trade?
Walking is my most beautiful tool to calm, let my mind wander, be present. If it’s a lucky day, my mind says: Curvy stick, green leaf, a bud, a spider’s web, a snail, a curve, a sign. l will listen to the crunch of feet as I try to keep my left foot from bowing in, lightly.
You are hosting a party. Who’s coming? Where and when? What’s being served? (Fictional characters and locales are welcome.)
This has always been a difficult question for me: Those we’ve never met, but wished with all our hearts we had. Those we want to listen to all evening to the sound of their voice, that beautiful music. Those we’ve found walking on the street and say, “Come in”, want nothing more than to touch and hold and not let go. Those we’re too timid to ask whether they might have just a little more room on their star for one more. And those we want to give endless gratitude to, want to never leave the table, to say goodnight.
What mashups do you wish existed?
The fragrance of a white rose with the bloom of a pink peony.
What are some things you enjoy doing off-screen? (*your very own digital disruption):
It’s never happened, yet, but my off-time dream is to bear-hibernate in a deeply snowed-in cabin surrounded by books; stepping outside in the early morning to the chilly air with a cup of coffee in my hands that never gets cold. Or to lay down in a wheat field, staring up at the clouds until the shadows begin to darken, naming all those shapes and bodies.
Any recommendations for the OIP community? What have you been enjoying lately? (Or, something you are working on that you would like to share?)
Browsing through a picture book depicting the deep violets and blues of France.
Thank you so much, Elle! We love what you make, and we’re so excited to publish your work.
This fall, you can find Elle Cee Wallace’s work in Old Iron Press’s inaugural anthology, Playing Authors!
CONTINUE TO FOLLOW ALONG ALL SUMMER WITH GUTENBORG, OUR FAVORITE ONE-WHEEL WONDERER, AS WE ROADTRIP TO MEET OLD IRON PRESS AUTHORS NEAR AND FAR. LOOK FOR PLAYING AUTHORS, COMING OUT FALL 2023.