The hosts of Wilde Readings – Laura Shovan, Linda Joy Burke, Faye McCray, and Ann Bracken – are happy to host the first reading of the 2022-2023 season with two authors, Desirée Magney and Neha Misra! The event is at 7 pm on Tuesday, September 13th on Zoom. Register for the Zoom event here: https://us02web.zoom.us/…/reg…/WN_dptdMYcaTKqZ16Kt4aIsqw
Click here for more information about the event and how you can participate! Now, meet Desirée and Neha with our favorite six questions for writers:
Who is the person in your life (past or present) that shows up most often in your writing?
Desirée: My mother is the person who shows up most often in my writings. I’m currently working on a book about her and my struggles to understand how her childhood trauma shaped the adult and parent she was. As I say in the book, “Her life was like a combination of the fairy tales in my childhood bedroom bookcase – part “Cinderella” with the evil stepmother, part “The Seven Princes” with the lost brothers, part “Little Red Riding Hood” with the wolf disguised. I wouldn’t have believed her childhood stories if I hadn’t heard them corroborated over-and-over again during visits in our living room with her three brothers.”
Neha: Grandmothers across time and space
Where is your favorite place to write?
Desirée: My favorite place to write is in the quietest room in my house. I like to work at my kitchen desk but because I have a dog and a retired husband at home, that is rarely the quietest room. Luckily, I have another room – sometimes referred to as a tree house, sometimes a Rapunzel tower. It was originally planned as a small rooftop deck but we enclosed it and it has beautiful views of the treetops in Rock Creek Park. The only reason I don’t use that room as my exclusive office is that it isn’t sufficiently heated and cooled.
Neha: Amidst tree elders
Do you have any consistent pre-writing rituals?
Desirée: I need coffee and a clean desk.
Neha: It is a mix of music, nature meditation, and incense
Who always gets a first read?
Desirée: My first reader depends on whom I’ve written about. In stories I’ve written and published about my daughter, she’s always been my first reader. I want to know if she remembers things differently or remembers more details and I don’t want to invade her privacy. Plus, she’s an excellent writer and editor. In a story I wrote about my son – a fun piece about going to museums to see Van Gogh’s paintings – I gave him first dibs. But for stories about my mother, I usually have my husband or daughter read them first.
Neha: One of my personal council members – beautiful humans I love and trust the most!
What is a book you’ve read more than twice (and would read again)?
Desirée: I rarely reread a book. But over the years, I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird a number of times. I’ve also reread one of my favorite memoirs, The Four Words for Home by Angie Chuang. LPR published one of her pieces in 2012 and that is how I got to know her as a writer. Lastly, I love rereading Anne Lamott’s, Some Instruction on Writing and Life. Her book is full of good advice and powerful sentences, some of which I’ve added to my list of favorite quotes.
Neha: Gitanjali (Song Offerings) by Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
What is the most memorable reading you have attended?
Desirée: I suppose my bias as the former publisher of Little Patuxent Review (LPR) comes through in this answer. I’ve loved every LPR reading. Prior to the pandemic, they were held twice a year on the second floor of Oliver’s Carriage House in Columbia, Maryland. The rustic wood beams and fireplace, gave the readings a comfy feel that blocked out everything but the stories shared within those four walls for those two hours. Since the pandemic, they’ve been held virtually and haven’t suffered from the online venue because the most impressive part of the readings have always been the writers and other artists who grace the podium and share their art with us.
Neha: The Sanctuaries D.C. closing ceremony reading to honor the journey of an incredible local arts collective
Desirée Magney, a memorist, poet, and attorney has published in bioStories, Bethesda Magazine, Delmarva Review, The Washington Post Magazine, Washingtonian Magazine, the Writer’s Center-Art Begins with a Story, Jellyfish Whispers, and the Best of Storm Cycle Anthology. She was a member of the board and publisher of Little Patuxent Review, has contributed to its blog, and served as a nonfiction submission reader. She has taught memoir writing at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Neha Misra is a first generation immigrant poet, contemporary eco-folk visual artist, and an award winning climate justice advocate. Neha’s multi-disciplinary Earth stewardship centered creative studio uses the power of art to build bridges between our private, collective, and planetary healing. She is a 2022 Public Voices Fellow on the Climate Crisis – an initiative of the OpEd Project and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication to change who writes history. Learn more at: http://www.nehamisrastudio.com