xTx has been published online in places such as PANK, Monkeybicycle, Smokelong Quarterly, elimae and Wigleaf. She says nothing at www.notimetosayit.com.
UF Review: This might be cutting a little close to the bone. But why do you choose to write under a pseudonym? Is it liberating? Is it easier than allowing full exposure of self in your work?
xtx: Using the pseudonym for my writing was an accident. I used it when I was primarily blogging so that I was able to write whatever I wanted to without repercussion from my everyday life. I just happened to keep on using at as I started to submit my writing/poetry. I never thought my writing would ‘take off’ as it did and that I would start to ‘become known’ as “xTx.”
If anything, writing under xTx allows full exposure of myself in my work. I’m afraid that if I started publishing under my real name, I might hold back. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
UF Review: A related question, something about your work seems incredibly exposed. You seem to incorporate pain, misunderstanding, loss, and even humor into your work. Your characters are deeply human in their struggles. That being said, how would you describe your writing? How would you describe your recent chapbook, He is Talking to the Fat Lady?
xtx: Gosh, how would I describe my writing? I don’t know. I always seem to look to others to describe it. It just feels like I’m too close to be able to give it proper perspective. I don’t have enough distance. It is many things, I guess. Pick one. Pick 3. Pick 7. That’s what it is.
I would describe HITTTFL as a Christmas stocking full of small wrapped gifts. The gifts aren’t at all related to the holiday. They are from your manic depressive mother who can’t afford to buy gifts so instead she steals them or makes them or pulls them out of landfills and cleans them up before she wraps them up. They are sort of bizarre and some are scary, some are ugly and confusing but there is an underlying beauty to them that you hold on to because she cared enough and that means everything.
UF Review: Why are you drawn to fiction? What made you want to start writing? Now, what keeps you writing?
xTx: I’ve written every since I was little. In third grade, Mrs. Mooney would read stories that kids in the class would write and I had the most ‘popular’ story series called, “The Kooky Class” and I would make up crazy stories that included different kids in the class. Everyone loved them and I think maybe the reaction I got really made me want to write even more.
I am drawn to fiction because you can make anything happen. Anything. In any way you want. It’s like being God but of imaginary people and things. It’s boundless.
The need to write keeps me writing.
UF Review: How much of your fiction is a mirror of personal experience?
xTx: That’s hard to say. I think a lot of my fiction starts off as something experienced in my personal life, whether it be an event, a feeling, a phrase or something I witnessed, and then it usually takes off into an entirely different place. So, perhaps my fiction is not so much a mirror, but more like a reflection of a reflection of that mirror.
UF Review: You also write poetry. How do you decide if material should be turned into a poem or a story? For you, what are the differences between the genres? What do you like about each genre? Does either genre have particular constraints? Particular freedoms?
xTx: I don’t decide if material should turn into something, it just becomes what it is supposed to be. I don’t say that to sound cryptic, but it’s just that I find out what it will be as I begin to write.
As far as the difference between poetry and fiction; to me, fiction is more ‘structured’ and tells something more tangible where poetry can be more like a kaleidoscope of emotion or imagery. I don’t like to think either of these genres have constraints. I don’t want to limit my writing with rules. I think by putting rules on writing you can have a missed opportunity.
UF Review: Your first release, Nobody Trusts A Black Magician, was an e-book. What draws you to the Internet writing community? There are so many exciting online literary venues — do you have any favorites? Where do you find inspiration?
xTx: The variety of writers and writing draws me to the Internet writing community. So much variety! I can learn and discover and admire so many things with every new issue! My only frustration is that I can’t read everything on the Internet. I love that you can get a lot of visibility of your writing with being printed online, and it’s fairly immediate. I love clicking over when some of my favorite mags post a new issue. It’s like Christmas!
I love so many of the litmags! PANK, Smokelong, Dogzplot, The Collagist, Monkeybicyle, Wigleaf, Annalemma, Necessary Fiction, Hobart, Metazen, decomP, >kill author and Thieves Jargon to name a few.
I find inspiration everywhere.
UF Review: Do you ever feel lonely? How does writing help you feel not alone? Does it?
xTx: I feel lonely all the time. It’s a primary emotion for me. When I write, it’s usually to scrub that feeling…among others…out of my system.
Writing makes me feel simultaneously alone and not alone. Writing is a solitary sport. When I ‘go write’ that means I lock myself away with headphones on and a computer and I am alone with me and my brain. The physical aspect of writing is being alone. It’s difficult if you are an integral part of other people’s lives.
The only time writing makes me feel less alone is when people are reading what I wrote. I know that sometimes I reach people with my writing and in that connection…that somebody ‘saw’ me, or ‘saw themselves’ through my words, makes me feel one with them, if only for a moment.
UF Review: What advice would you give to an aspiring writer? Do you still consider yourself an aspiring writer? For you, what does the term “writer” really mean?
xTx: Writer. Writer. Writer. I am still trying to be comfortable with calling myself this. A writer means all of the authors you read and admire. That’s why I think I feel I can never be one of them.
Yes, I am an aspiring writer. And in my camaraderie to any aspiring writers, I will give them the same advice that everyone gives aspiring writers and that is: just write. Write every day. Write about anything. Write about nothing. Do it as much as you can and don’t be afraid to get feedback. Don’t give it all up after the tenth straight rejection because that is when you get acceptances on 11, 12 and 13. One door closes another door opens and all that bullshit. Writing is easy and writing is the hardest fucking thing, but if you are a writer, it must be done, so do.
UF Review: What are you currently working on? As a writer, where do you want to go?
xTx: I just finished some things, so I am just beginning others. I have a lot of started stories that I need to finish.
As a writer, I want to make books and be famous or just beloved. I just want people to read and enjoy my writing.
UF Review: You live in Southern California, right? Any favorite places to visit?
xTx: Yes. Allegedly. Visit the beach. It’s beautiful.
UF Review: Please share anything else you’d like to say.
xTx: Thank you, come again.