Interview with Dawn Curtis - Runner-Up in the Fall 2010 Flash Fiction Contest

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Dawn’s Bio:

An on-again, off-again writer for most of her life, Dawn started to focus more on her writing seven years ago, about the same time she got serious about yoga. Curious about the amazing effect yoga was having on her creative process, Dawn discovered other yogi-writers through study with Jeffrey Davis, author of Journey From the Center to the Page. Already a yoga teacher, she completed Yoga as Muse facilitator training with Davis in 2010.

Dawn credits Yoga as Muse with helping her establish a regular writing practice, and with overcoming fears of sitting down to write and finding she has nothing to say. Instead, she’s discovered that the body is a storehouse of emotions and memories that, through gentle movement and breathing, can yield rich, creative imagery.

The long, dark winters in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada where Dawn lives with her daughter are perfect for delving into the creative realm. She is currently at work on her first novel and her play, Fish Out of Water, will be produced in 2011. Dawn is also very excited to offer Yoga as Muse workshops for yogis, writers, and anyone interested in exploring how yoga's skillful means can enhance a creative life.

Find out more about what Dawn’s up to on Facebook, Twitter (@dawngcurtis), her website at, and on Jeffrey Davis’ Yoga as Muse page at

If you haven't done so already, check out Dawn's award-winning story "Low-Hanging Fruit" and return here for a chat with the author!

WOW: Congratulations on placing in the Fall 2010 Flash Fiction Contest! What is your inspiration for your story?

Dawn: I adapted Low-Hanging Fruit from a passage in a novel I'm working on that is inspired in part by my grandmother's life, growing up in an Italian immigrant family in northern Ontario during WWI. Though the situation the character finds herself in is, as far as I know, purely fiction!

WOW: Sounds like the novel will be a great story! What do you like best about writing?

Dawn: I really enjoy the process of writing, when I'm in the "flow" and the writing seems to just be coming without any conscious effort on my part. I'm endlessly fascinated by where the subconscious mind takes us when we stand aside, quiet our "inner heckler" and just get lost in the drafting process. On the other end, I also love the work involved in refining and honing my rough material into a finished piece - kind of like fitting the pieces of a puzzle together.

WOW: In your bio, you’ve credited Yoga as Muse for helping you establish a regular writing practice. How has it helped, and what is your writing schedule like?

Dawn: In Yoga as Muse, there are four basic preparations for a successful writing practise:
1) Writing with intention
2) Showing up and shaping time
3) Stoking the writers fire and
4) Riding the wave of concentration.
Showing up and shaping time is about treating your writing like a practise, and honouring writing time as an important daily ritual. I make writing "dates" with myself, and try to write every day, usually in the mornings. I find that sitting down regularly, even if it's just for 15 - 30 minutes, helps me overcome the feeling of writer's block, or the excuse that I can't sit down to write if I don't have at least a two-hour chunk of time. And the other three preparations help make sure that I make the best use of that time, even if it's short - getting down to the business of writing in a focused, concentrated way.

WOW: I enjoy hearing how other writers schedule their time. It can be such a difficult thing to do and I feel more motivated after hearing how someone else balances their writing life. If you could have dinner with one writer, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?

Dawn: Oh, that's a difficult question - there are so many amazing writers whose works I admire! If I think about who inspired me as a young person to put pen to page, I would have to say Mary Stewart, whose books I have recently started to reread. I love her ability to craft interesting characters and place them in exciting stories in exotic locals - and I admire the sheer volume of work she produced - clearly a writer who loves to write!

WOW: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Dawn: I think it would have to be Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird, in which she gives writers permission to write "shitty first drafts". And Jeffrey Davis echoes this in Journey from the Center to the Page, encouraging writers to "get lost in the drafting", cautioning writers against drafting like "overscheduled tourists". It was very freeing when I realized that I had permission to write something completely unpolished, and could go back and fix it later on, or even throw it away. It's more important for me to write with concentrate on letting passion and connectedness drive the words, something that can't happen if I'm focused on getting it right the first time.

WOW: That’s great advice! Thank you, Dawn, for your answers. Keep up the great writing!

Interviewed by: Anne Greenawalt and home of The Daughter Project


Amber Polo said...

Great interview Dawn. Hope to see you at the Taos Yoga as Muse in 2012!

Sioux Roslawski said...

I agree. Anne Lamott's advice is great. We DO need to give ourselves permission to write junk...

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