Sunday, June 19, 2016

12 or 20 (second series) questions with Sofia Banzhaf

Sofia Banzhaf is the author of Pony Castle. She is also an actress and filmmaker. Her website is HERE (

1 - How did your first book change your life? How does your most recent work compare to your previous? How does it feel different? I met a lot of good people. My new work is like my old work, which is cool if you like my old work. I'm experimenting more with format. And I'm writing more for the screen.

2 - How did you come to fiction first, as opposed to, say, poetry or non-fiction? Fiction demands a precision of the imagination which I enjoy. It demands your complete investment in the world you create, for a long period of time.

3 - How long does it take to start any particular writing project? Does your writing initially come quickly, or is it a slow process? Do first drafts appear looking close to their final shape, or does your work come out of copious notes? I take a lot of notes. No notes, no glory.

4 - Where does a work of fiction usually begin for you? Are you an author of short pieces that end up combining into a larger project, or are you working on a "book" from the very beginning? A work of fiction begins when my need to not feel totally alone becomes overwhelming. I haven't set out to write a book because that would be creatively damaging for someone who has a resistance to authority and a tendency to self-sabotage. As long as I write or edit every day, with that being the goal itself, I feel good.

5 - Are public readings part of or counter to your creative process? Are you the sort of writer who enjoys doing readings? If I drink enough I will totally enjoy myself.

6 - Do you have any theoretical concerns behind your writing? What kinds of questions are you trying to answer with your work? What do you even think the current questions are? I think if I was conscious of those questions or concerns, I wouldn't be writing.

7 – What do you see the current role of the writer being in larger culture? Does s/he even have one? What do you think the role of the writer should be? All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, and there are mere trickles. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don't matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake.

8 - Do you find the process of working with an outside editor difficult or essential (or both)? Essential.

9 - What is the best piece of advice you've heard (not necessarily given to you directly)? The road is long, we carry on, try to have fun in the meantime - Lana Del Rey.

10 - How easy has it been for you to move between genres (fiction to film to acting)? What do you see as the appeal? Moving between mediums isn't a conscious act for me. I do what I'm pulled towards and what I'm fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do.

11 - What kind of writing routine do you tend to keep, or do you even have one? How does a typical day (for you) begin? A typical day begins with anxiety. I have a little pocket book of the Tao Te Ching which I read almost every morning and that calms me. If that fails, I'll drink a screwdriver and take a bath. I don't have a writing routine.

12 - When your writing gets stalled, where do you turn or return for (for lack of a better word) inspiration? I read my friends' work. Something about it being so immediate/contemporary/close to me shocks me into action again.

13 - What fragrance reminds you of home? This question is borderline insane. Like, where did it come from? I like it though.

14 - David W. McFadden once said that books come from books, but are there any other forms that influence your work, whether nature, music, science or visual art? I like reality TV. I've been watching the Anna Nicole Smith show a lot.

15 - What other writers or writings are important for your work, or simply your life outside of your work? Trevso_Electric and Audrey Wollen.

16 - What would you like to do that you haven't yet done? Eat a shrimp cocktail at the top of the CN tower. Defeather a goose.

17 - If you could pick any other occupation to attempt, what would it be? Or, alternately, what do you think you would have ended up doing had you not been a writer? Reality TV star. I'm confrontational and sex-obsessed which would probably make for good entertainment.

18 - What made you write, as opposed to doing something else?
I possess very few real life skills.

19 - What was the last great book you read? What was the last great film? Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys. Killer of Sheep by Charles Burnett.

20 - What are you currently working on? I'm working on a second book. I'm also working on a piece for the new issue of the Four Poets with Rachel Bell, Ruby Brunton and Fan Wu. That's launching in April [2016]. I'm in post-production on a feature film I co-wrote and co-directed, and I'm developing a series with JASH and Nicole Dorsey. Thank you god bless.

12 or 20 (second series) questions;

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