Interview with Christina Rauh Fishburne Runner Up in the 2021 Quarter 3 Creating Non-Fiction Essay Contest

Saturday, December 04, 2021


Congratulations to Christna Rauh Fishburne and Snow White and all the winners of our 2021 Quarter 4 Creative Non-Fiction Essay Contest!

Christina’s Bio:

Christina Rauh Fishburne is a writer and artist currently living in England where her family is stationed with the US Army. She has an MFA from the University of Alabama and an obsession with the Brontes. An enthusiastic collaborator, Christina frequently works with her brother, musician Charlie Rauh, and recently illustrated The Crow Emporium Press edition of Jane Eyre. Currently, she’s working with Icelandic musician Inga Björk to introduce a children’s picture book with original soundtrack, and is querying her dual-timeline historical novel as well. Kattywompus Press will publish her forthcoming chapbook, Bird, which will include “Snow White” first published by Perhappened Mag Issue 6, Fairy Tale. Christina has three kids, blogs instead of going to therapy, and eats a lot of cake. She is very tired. Find her at And if you can also find her other vintage-style Audrey Hepburn hoop earring, that would be amazing.


 If you haven't done so already, check out Christina's talent in writing with the touching story Snow White and then return here for a chat with this talented author. 

WOW: Congratulations Christina and thank you so much for sharing your time and talents with us! Let's get down to it, shall we? 

What is the take-away you’d like readers to gain from Snow White

Christina: There is nothing more motivating than a comeback. Watching the owl walk to the hedge and lay down was so sweet and intimately adorable. I felt tricked and ashamed I’d spent all day keeping watch over a dead bird, expecting it to live. I think we often do that—attend the dead, the hopeless, the pointless, the small underdog desire and expect it to just get up, dust off, flex its muscles, and go on to conquering glory under its own power. Someone told me once during a very bleak time, “Sometimes there has to be a death for there to be a resurrection.” Sometimes I just can’t have what I want, what I believe I need. The fairy tale Snow White was tricked into poisoning herself but brought back to life by love. Jesus said Talitha cumi to a child who had died and she was brought back. It means “Little girl, arise.” For every time I’ve tricked myself into believing I was unjustly denied my desire, I’ve been brought back to life in unexpected ways. There’s always hope; it just never looks the way we expect it to. 

WOW: There certainly is always hope - isn't there? Seems that's something I appreciate more as an older woman than I did as a hopeless teen. Speaking of which, do you have advice for your younger self when it comes to making decisions, believing in yourself, and/or writing? What would your current self say to the younger you? 

 Christina: I’d tell her it doesn’t matter old you are. I went straight into my MFA after graduation. I felt silly around the older, cooler students who were coming from corporate jobs, were married or had been married, and who lived in houses with actual furniture. I was also more than a little impressed with myself that I so clearly knew what I wanted to do… while so young, as if that meant anything. Youth is celebrated on the same level with talent sometimes and that sticks in my craw. I would tell my Younger Self: You don’t have to win all the contests, publish your Civil War Saga novel, and master the wise yet humble smile for your author photo by the time you graduate high school. If you have a baby, take a minute. Take 8 years. Everything may feel like a big race, but it’s not. Youth is just an adjective in author bios; it’s not the key to their success. It’s not because they’re young that their book is amazing, it’s because they’re talented. I’m ok being jealous of talent. We’ve all been young. We haven’t all been geniuses. I’m proud of the stories I wrote when I was 22 and knew jack-crap about life, but I’m also the first to say I’m a better writer now at 42. If I’m 62 when my novel is finally published, that will be ok. I shall now pause in expectation of a time-travelling, advice-dispensing, 62-year-old Christina. … Rats. 

WOW: Well, time travel or cloning ones self would certainly help during the toddler years - let's work on that! What’s your secret to juggling a career and family and eating all that cake without ruining your figure? 

Christina: Let’s just say, I was quite happy to oblige you with a picture from the “shoulders, up”. Young Christina could move overseas every 3 years, have babies, be a single mom for a year at a time, learn to drive all over again, and eat half a sheet cake for dinner without serious consequences. She’d write in her journal or rework an old story for no reason then put it in a drawer. For fun. She’d stay flexible. But Current Christina needs some low-impact Youtube workouts for the middle-aged… It’s no longer about “fitness goals”—the only goal is to Not Get Worse. Sacrifices are made, but nothing too crazy. If I’m offered cake, I produce a fork. If there’s no cake present, I make it. Cake is Joy and writing is Oxygen. Too long without either and I don’t feel well. Also, I am extremely fortunate to have a husband who works very hard so I can stay home. For 12 years “staying home” looked very different from what it is now. When the kids were small and the laundry was eternal, I’d write for myself just to remind myself I was still there. Today all three kids are toilet trained, in school full time, and entertain each other when they’re home, so I’ve been able to really write, and when it’s good, it’s good like cake. Unfortunately, the cake effect gets more visibility… 

WOW: Who doesn't like cake? I just gained a stone thinking about it...writing is much better for my waistline too!

How did you get started blogging and what are your feelings about it now? In what ways do you feel it’s been helpful for you as a mother? 

Christina: So there I was: living in a hotel on a tiny island, recently divested of my most valuable jewelry by the movers, getting over a miscarriage and about to have another, and in a super dark mood. I’d kept a journal since I was 8 and the entries were getting to be a real drag. I wasn’t feeling better after I wrote. I began SmileWhenYouSayThat as a project to if not find the good in whatever nightmare I faced, then to at least find the hope in it. We move often, so I don’t have any family or close friends to immediately rely on in a crisis, but I have God and even when He’s not doing what I’d like, I know things aren’t out of control. There’s an old Daffy Duck cartoon where he’s a cowboy about to get punched in face off screen and you hear him say “Whad’you mean, ‘smile when I say that’?” It’s always made me laugh. If I’m about to get punched in the face, I want to be able to laugh about it someday. Being a mother is a lot of pressure, being an Army wife is stressful, and I don’t like talking about my feelings. Writing about them—where I know someone else will see them—is where God talks to me, where I can start to see what He’s doing and how I’m going to be ok. There are times I can’t smile by myself. There are limits to what even cake can do. 

WOW: Well, I absolutely love everything about your blog, your story, and this interview - but all good things (like cake) must come to an end! So, from one lemons to lemonade writer to another, what’s next for you? What are your writing goals for the remainder of 2021 and beyond? 

Christina: My first chapbook, Bird, will come out with Kattywompus Press. For 3 years I focused on writing a novel, which I finished in January, and I’ve been studying the swirling vortex of misery that is Agent Querying ever since. There are so many rules, known and unknown, and so many opportunities to screw yourself by accident while meaning to promote what you’ve always understood to be your strengths. Charlotte Bronte’s famous line in Jane Eyre, “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me” struck me strangely one day. Was I a bird, just not ensnared? A strange bird—a weirdo, his bird—old British slang for girlfriend, the bird—a big fat middle finger to disappointment … Bird is a series of micro and flash fictions linked by an ongoing dialog between an actress Seagull and her audience. As a writer and artist, I want my creative journey to come about naturally and organically but have to achieve certain artificial-feeling levels to be seen as "successful." I feel the same about being a woman. I’m so pleased this little book is the first to come to light “officially.” It encourages me that my others will find their way in time. Look me up when I’m 62.

WOW: Thank you ever so much for sharing your essay, and your time with us today! We look forward to more from you in the future! 

  Interviewed by Crystal Otto who just keeps on keeping on!

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