Interview with Brigitte Watson: 2019 Q3 Creative Nonfiction Contest Runner Up

Sunday, September 22, 2019
Brigitte’s Bio:

Brigitte Watson hails from Montreal, Quebec, Canada where she’s lived her whole life. She began writing stories a year and a half ago when she joined a memoir writing class at her local library. This will be the first time one of her stories is being published. Brigitte has studied in Fine Arts, Women’s Studies, Midwifery and Psychology. For a while, she dabbled in tattooing. Her goal is to write a graphic memoir.

If you haven't done so already, check out Brigitte's award-winning story "Waking Up" and then return here for a chat with the author.

WOW: Congratulations on placing in the Q3 2019 Creative Nonfiction Contest! How did you begin writing this piece and how did it and your writing evolve as you wrote?

Brigitte: I began this piece because I'd been writing stories about grief and loss. I was ready to lighten things up a bit. This story evolved quite a bit. With each revision (and there were many), I saw that I needed more specific details, or dig deeper into a scene. The experience from start to finish was interesting because I had no clue that the story would grow into what it became. Sure, I had the event to write from, but I was surprised to see the end result. I didn't think I could do that. Now the trick is to do it again!

WOW: It’s lovely to be able to surprise yourself like that with what you can accomplish and create! What did you learn about yourself or your writing by creating this essay?

Brigitte: I don't like to dig deeper on paper. Revealing my feelings and thoughts and desires is scary and hard, even in a little piece like Waking Up. I want it to be easy and it's not! What I learned about my writing is that I'm better than I thought I was but I'm still not entirely convinced. It depends on the day, actually. And that if I want to be a better writer, I have to work harder and harder which feels daunting. I often ask myself, "Do I have what it takes to stick with this?"

WOW: I think questioning one’s skills and endurance as a writer is something many other writers can relate to. Do you think there’s any connection between your yoga practice and your writing practice? If so, how do you think one affects the other?

Brigitte: The connection is that word "practice." Both yoga and writing take time and commitment. Of coming back to the mat or the desk every day and giving it the best I've got. I do think one affects the other because it reinforces good habits and being on the path to improving myself, whether it's spiritually, physically, mentally or even creatively.

WOW: I like that you think of them both as a “practice,” which helps me consider my writing “practice” in a new way. Which creative nonfiction essays or writers have inspired you most, and in what ways did they inspire you?

Brigitte: I am a big fan of Annie Dillard, Joan Didion, David Sedaris, and Truman Capote, to name but a few! Their intelligence, wit, and vision inspire to think outside the box of my little world. To make connections to things I never thought of. To reach higher, like in my story.

WOW: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Brigitte: Well, since I've only started writing a year and a half ago, I am my younger writing self! I do tell myself over and over to keep at it, bit by bit and it doesn't matter if it's good or not. Just keep going.

WOW: Thanks so much for your thoughtful responses. And thank you for sharing your writing with us!

Interviewed by Anne Greenawalt, who keeps a blog of journal entries, memoir snippets, interviews, training logs, and profiles of writers and competitive sportswomen.


Anonymous said...

Anne--Thanks for doing this interview, and for providing the link to Brigitte's story.

Brigitte--First, that is not the kind of weekend I would enjoy. I'd have to bring a whole trailer full of chicken sandwiches, and enough chocolate to wallow in... just to last two days there.

Secondly, you dug deep enough to ensure the reader could relate to your experience. I was right alongside you, running to the room to snarf down some edible food.

Third, congratulations. As a "just begun" writer, take your advice. Keep at it. Keep writing, keep revising, keep submitting. You're off to a wonderful start!

Renee Roberson said...

Brigitte--Congratulations! This is a such a well-crafted essay, and I can tell you spent a lot of time on the revisions. I know how hard it is to dig deeper. The opening image of you puffing nervously on that cigarette drew me right in, and I couldn't stop reading about your experience. If you've only begun writing seriously in the past year and a half, I'm excited to see what else you can accomplish!

Patrick Garden said...

I am so glad I got curious and looked you up to see what you've been up to. This was a fantastic read.

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