Interview with Alicia Ezekiel-Pipkin Q1 2018 Creative Non-Fiction Essay Contest Runner Up!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Congratulations to runner up Alicia Ezekiel-Pipkin and everyone who participated in our WOW! Women on Writing Q1 2018 Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest!

Alicia's Bio:

Alicia Ezekiel-Pipkin is a nonfiction lyric essayist interested in the correlational between identity and the natural world. Generally, her essays contemplate the intricate relationship of nature v. nurture and the effects that relationship has on a person. Alicia’s work has contributed to the Seattle art installation, Anastacia-ReneĆ©: Poetry in a Time of Chaos and has been honored by New Millennium Writings. Alicia is currently working on a collection of personal essays as an MFA candidate at University of Central Florida in nonfiction. She currently lives in Orlando with her dog Theo, who does not appreciate all the large reptiles out to get him. Readers can connect with her through her new website, Instagram, or Twitter.

If you haven't done so already, check out Alicia's emotional story  Mother Moon and Me and then return here for a chat with the author.

WOW:  Congratulations again Alicia and thank you for taking time to chat with us today! Let's dig right in:  Does journaling play a role in your writing and healing? Why or why not? 

Alicia: Yes, I’ve been journaling since I was in 1st grade. I love keeping observations and thoughts like field notes. More often than not, I’m able to use them later in a piece, or to at least help me access my frame of mind from the time which I’m writing. Journaling is a cathartic act because putting thoughts to the page makes them clearer. It’s a lot like therapy, just with yourself. The more time you spend writing, the more self-aware you become. You learn to thoughtfully and clearly communicate your ideas. Self-awareness and communication are important for everyone, not just writers.

WOW: "Like field notes" - I love that!

Where do you write? What does your space look like?

Alicia: I usually write at my desk, which is covered with pictures and cards from loved ones. My desk is positioned beside a window, so that I don’t forget to look up every now and then. With writing being such an isolating act, it’s comforting to know there’s a world and people outside. I like the idea of having life around me when I write. My dog usually lays by my feet or on my lap, too.

I do most of my pre-writing in my head while running. When running competitively in high school and college, I found myself alone for miles and hours, with nothing to do except think. At stops signs or red lights, I’d make notes in my phone to explore on the page afterwards. Distance running is also isolating. It makes one examine themselves and their surroundings. I think that’s why I’m drawn to the essay. The essay is an attempt to make sense of one’s thoughts.

WOW:  What’s next for you? What are your writing goals for 2019 and beyond?

Alicia: I’m currently a nonfiction candidate at University of Central Florida’s MFA. So, I’m working on my thesis right now. It’s a collection of essays that explore coming of age and the weight of nature vs. nurture. The collection stems from my fascination in observing various forms of motherhood and the effects a child’s upbringing and genetics have on their emerging adulthood.

WOW: What pushed you toward sharing such an intimate story? Any regrets? Tell us more...

Alicia: I wrote this piece after reading Amy Butcher’s “Women These Days.” Her essay stitches together news headlines by searching “woman + [verb].” Around the same time, a man had followed me on his bike when I was on a run. A friend of mine was followed on her bike by two guys for twelve miles. The female runners of Rowan University (New Jersey) were banned from running in sports bras due to their bodies distracting male athletes. With all of this in mind, I wanted to explore the origins of my distrust in men and somewhat reclaim that fear in the last paragraph of my essay. The only regret I have sharing this essay is its colder portrayal of my mom. The companion essays to “Mother Moon and Me” flesh out her character more, and by just reading this one, the reader doesn’t get a rounded view of her. My mom is a loving, complex person who taught me empathy. Without her, I wouldn’t be a writer.

WOW: Well thank heaven's for Amy Butcher and for your bravery in sharing your story. We are so happy to part of your journey!

Interviewed by Crystal Otto who just keeps on keeping on!

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