Interview with Julide Kroeker: Q1 2020 Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest Third Place Winner

Sunday, February 23, 2020
Julide’s Bio:

Julide J. Kroeker is 4'11 but acts 6'5 and spends her days adoring her three dogs. She is currently a member of the US army reserves and will be studying phlebotomy in the spring. Julide hopes to continue pursuing a writing career, something she's been working at since she was 4'10.

She resides in Missouri with her super supportive father and brother. Reading, writing, and embroidery fill her days.

Julide is currently working on a book of poetry.

If you haven't done so already, check out Julide's award-winning story "Zucchini Bread Keeps Away the Dead" and then return here for a chat with the author.

WOW: Congratulations on placing third in the Q1 2020 Creative Nonfiction Contest! How did you begin writing this piece and how did it and your writing evolve as you wrote?

Julide: I adapted this piece from a poem called "The Noose" I had written a month before. The original poem was very dark and angsty. I found that I felt the piece better represented me and my mindset when there was humor infused with the darker moments.

WOW: And the humor infused with darker moments works excellently at the literary level, too. What did you learn about yourself or your writing by creating this essay?

Julide: One thing I learned about myself is that when trying to express a sincere thought I tend to cover it up with a joke as some sort of cushion. I definitely noticed this when I am evaluating a command strips durability to hang myself. I don't think it's bad that I use this coping mechanism all the time because it definitely adds a spoon full of sugar too hard to swallow pills.

WOW: You’ve adapted this story from a poem, and your bio says you’re working on even more poetry. Tell us more about the poetry book you’re writing.

Julide: The poetry book I am working on is called Confused Little Human. It consists of poems of a darker, satirical humor theme. A lot of the poems are inspired by my coming of age, dating life, and struggling with loneliness and anxiety that I hope a lot of people can relate to. I took a lot of inspiration from Bo Burnham's brilliant book Egghead. I really admire how he made a book with lovely poems where you can really see inside his soul, but also lots of poop jokes.

WOW: Ha! Soul and poop: that is a creative mixture, for sure! It sounds like you’re drawn to darker, satirical humor. Which creative nonfiction essays or writers have most influenced you, and in what ways?

Julide: Frank McCourt has heavily influenced my writing. He has a special way of conveying absolute misery in his memoirs and still be able to make you laugh on the very next page. His experiences are unique yet are so impressively fleshed out that you can relate to him and really see inside of his head.

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

Julide: I wish I would have kept more journals. Writing every day, even if it is just a sentence, can be so beneficial to your writing and your thought process as a whole.

WOW: Oh yes, journaling can be a very powerful tool, for both personal and literary growth and reflection. Anything else you’d like to add?

Julide: I feel very honored to have my essay be selected in the top 3! As a writer, when you have someone read your work and tell you that they get it, they connect with it, it just feels like how cinnamon rolls smell. I hope that makes sense. Thank you again WOW!

WOW: You are very welcome! Thank you for sharing your writing with us and for your thoughtful responses.

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


Sioux Roslawski said...

Anne--Thanks for doing this interview, and thanks for giving us the link to Julide's essay. What writing! I hope she's not as young as she looks. If she is, I'll have to hunt her down and slash her tires. Someone that young who writes with that much talent? Not fair. ;)

Julide--It takes a deft hand to juggle unbelievable sorrow with levity. You are able to do it. I just finished a phenomenal historical novel--"The Last Thing You Surrender"--and the author (Leonard Pitts) doesn't use humor, but he does ease up when he gets to the edge of great, almost-overwhelming sadness and switches to another character's POV. I often choose humor, too. Do I do it for myself, or for others' comfort? I'm not sure...

Congratulations for getting into the top 3. The competetition is always stiff with WOW contests. You should be proud. And you should continue writing. I would buy a book of your essays. A book of your poetry, too. (I love the satirical and the snarky. The dark and the snort-worthy.)

Good luck with your future writing. Keep writing, keep amassing, keep submitting.

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