Interview with Taylor Imel, whose nonfictional personal essay, ‘Our Grecian Bungalow,’ can be found in Issue One of Into The Void.
Why do you write, and what do you hope to achieve in doing it?
I think I write to know myself better. Sometimes I write to know others better, or to know instances or situations better. It’s a kind of therapy, a discovery. And then by the end, I hope I realize something I haven’t realized before.
What are the major themes found in your work?
More than anything, I write about the women in my family. The essay “Our Grecian Bungalow” strays from that topic a bit, because I focus more on myself and why I made certain decisions at a specific time in my life. But on a grand scale, I’m constantly searching for the ‘why’ with the women in my family, and writing to understand them. People are fascinating; that’s my tagline for all art I create. I like the relationship of where someone comes from and who they are because/in spite of it.
I’ve also been told that I use nature as a theme, and while that might be true, I think I’m more intrigued by the unnatural. The broken, the old, the frayed. How a person came to be and what they make of it.
Why is literature important?
Art is someone’s story. People are important. Stories are important. Listening is imperative.
What are some of your favourite writers?
My all time favourite author is Cheryl Strayed. If you want truth in its ugliest, purest, best form, go to Cheryl Strayed. The woman is the bravest author I’ve read when it comes to not sugar-coating your own woes and mistakes. (Ha, get it, ‘Dear Sugar’). I’m also a Salinger fan, because the boy was a recluse who did not care for societal praise. But not just “The Catcher in the Rye” Salinger; I’m talking “For Esme With Love and Squalor” Salinger. Short-stories Salinger. Salinger with feelings. If you’re going through heartache, Rupi Kaur is the way to go. As for painting and fine art, I love Truls Espedal all day long.
What book are you currently reading/read last?
The last book I read was The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. It blew me away. I’d read it again, and I never read books twice.
What’s your favourite piece from Issue One?
My favourite piece from this issue has to be ‘Dream This For Me’ by Noel King. It’s so simplistic and nostalgic and it drew my attention instantly. That is the kind of poetry I love to read. This was the hardest question to answer, because there is so much raw talent in the magazine. I was blown away. I feel honoured to be featured with such talented people.
Where else can we find your work?
Hypertrophic Press has been more than generous with supporting my work. You can find two of my essays in their Summer 2016 issue: ‘Paper Girl’ and ‘My Mother is a Person.’ But honestly, check out all of their issues; they deserve a world of support. In fact, one of their editors, Lynsey Morandin, has a piece coming out in Popshot this October. Check that out too! Yay literature.
What’s on the horizon for you with your writing?
I’ve played with the idea of writing a book for years (as all authors do). I can happily say that now, one is in the works. Ideally, I’d like to finish it in the next year or two by the time I graduate from college. It’s still in infancy, so I can’t say much more except that I’m very excited.
In the meantime, I enjoy doing readings at open mics in the downtown Chicago area. ‘The Elevator Sessions’ has to be my favorite. People have been so welcoming to me as a new artist in the area. Chicagoans are filled with so much beautiful character. Don’t ever let someone tell you Chicago is bad or scary.