I’ve been following Katey Schultz’ writing career since she gave an invaluable workshop here with 49 Writers. That experience opened up a whole new level of writing for me. She is a novelist and freelance editor who also writes flash fiction.
I got an email from Katey last month asking for my mailing address—as in my snail mail address. “I’ll be sharing parts of my writing and creative process through a series of postcards. I’m finding that it’s refreshing to hold onto a physical reminder of the creative process, and hope these little dispatches of real mail will inspire.”
True to her word, I recently received a lovely postcard:
I was inspired by this postcard, and it brought to mind our #FellowshipofWords. Katey is using the power of words to make the world a better place, one postcard at a time. She graciously consented to an interview with me.
Thanks for your time, Katey. How do we stay inspired and focused on our work with all that’s going on in our crazy world? Or is that the right goal nowadays?
Focus, space, and passion are intimately linked. It’s hard to focus if our world feels loud or discursive. It’s difficult to believe in and deepen our passions without the physical and/or mental and spiritual space to do so. For me, so much of this is solved by limiting my access to social media and the Internet, listening to my body, and making sure I feel connected to the earth. From there, I have plenty of inspiration and I feel strong and clear in my passions and in my ability to focus.
This means I can write stories from a centered and inspired heart-space, but it also means that I can take action against injustices when I feel called to do so, as well. And thriving as an artist, by the way, is a radical act that defies the “crazy world” you are referencing. So much of our culture says this kind of ease and success and joy should not be possible (cue “starving artist” stereotype). And yet, if we show up to the page and to our imaginations, we’re headed toward empathy and peace, one word at a time.
How did you get the idea for your postcard campaign? What do you hope to achieve with it?
I’m a writer who identifies first and foremost with the imagination as a tool for not only the survival of the creative spirit, but of our species. While the Internet has certainly helped me in countless ways, I recognize that it will always be there. But each moment in the quiet morning, each sentence I may write before letting too much else in, may not always be there. In this way, postcards with provocative questions and a genuine note of connection felt more immediate and useful to me than, say, a mass email.
Can you give us a few ideas of how we can all build community through our writing?
The best advice I can offer is to find or create community that meets your needs, rather than saps your energy. What do you most wish someone would provide for you in your writing life? Chances are, you’re not the only one. Create that, and bring others into your circle as the synergy builds. As an example, I’m trying an experiment this fall based on my desire to stay connected with serious writers, curate meaningful conversation, and generate income for my business. Here’s the result, and it’s 2/3 full as of today!
What are you offering for writers, either right now or coming up this fall?
Thanks for asking. As described above, I’m experimenting with an online community for writers that is priced reasonably, offers accountability, and provides prompts and meaningful connection. That’s called Airstream Dispatches and it launches the very last week of September. The group that’s registered so far is stellar—from published to aspiring, from painters to professors. I’m so excited about this. There are six spaces left.
Yes, I just want to say THANK YOU. We met years ago in Alaska and have maintained a light dialogue, writer-to-writer ever since. And yes, the Internet has been a big part of making that possible! But it just goes to show you that when you stay open to what other people are making, and how you might make something others care about in the world, you never know what will emerge!