UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: Lisa Mrock

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: Lisa Mrock

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: Lisa Mrock

Introduction:
I first met Lisa in an Advanced Fiction course at Columbia College Chicago. Her nonfiction connects with audiences on an easy-going and humorous level. Her prose is observant; she has the innate ability to step back and take the reader through a journey of new insight.

Lisa Mrock is a writer from Chicago, Illinois who in her spare time plots for world domination. She has had pieces published in The Toucan, the Flash Fiction World print anthology, the currently defunct I Feel Pretty Zine, and writes about bands (and sometimes has awkward interviews with bands) for Chicago Innerview Magazine. You can read her Chicago Literati article "Own Where You're From": http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-literati/2013/02/own-where-youre-from-by-lisa-mrock/

Interview:
ABJ
1. What pushes you to write nonfiction?
LISA
Usually when I write nonfiction, it’s because I’m trying to make sense of something that’s happened in my life. I’m the type of person who thinks everything happens for a reason, and writing nonfiction helps me in trying to find that reason. If I can’t find the reason, then I figure that “reason” hasn’t taken effect yet, if that makes any sense.

ABJ
2. What’s a subject you never want to touch as a writer in any way, shape or form?
LISA
For me, it’s not a matter of subject. I just write what I want to write. Everything’s fair game - sports, incest, animal attacks, anything.

ABJ
3. What do you make yourself do everyday when it comes to writing?
LISA
I’m not disciplined at all when it comes to writing. I hear friends of mine say how they write every day and can’t go anywhere without a journal or notepad and I think, “Half the time I don’t even have a pen on me.” I don’t write every day. I’m too busy looking at everything around me.

ABJ
4. If you could take credit for any book in history what would it be and why?
LISA
I have two answers for this. If I’m going for artistic integrity, then "Catcher in the Rye". I’ve always had an affinity for novels, stories, and films concerning disaffected youth because I’ve always felt a disconnect between myself and my environment which has its advantages and disadvantages. It makes it hard for me to feel comfortable a lot of the time, but it allows me to observe more thoroughly. Holden Caulfield epitomizes the concept of the disaffected youth beautifully. He’s very observant and just sort of wanders, waiting to see what’ll come next. However, if I’m going for money, fame, and a conspiracy against humanity, then Twilight. The success of the series has more to do with the psychology of it all. Where Stephanie Meyer really gets her demographic (teenage girls) is that the love between the two main characters is unconditional. What teenage girl doesn’t want someone incredibly attractive to have nothing but unconditional love for her? And look at what happened when Meyer tapped into that. She became a millionaire off a mediocre book series (that I faithfully and dutifully read when I was a teenager, no shame).

ABJ
5. How do you feel about revisions?
LISA
I used to hate revisions. Now, it depends on the story. If I’ve written a story I’m not feeling, I immediately don’t want to revise it, but if it’s a story I can’t stay away from, I will revise it for months. And it won’t even be like I’m completely rewriting chunks of it either. It’ll be a word here, a sentence there, a phrase over there.

ABJ
6. What scares you about writing?
LISA
The whole “lack-of-money” thing isn’t much to look forward to.

ABJ
7. What do you look for in a peer editor?
LISA
I look for someone who is able to not give a shit about my emotional and mental well being in the time it takes for him or her to edit my work. The harder an editor is on me, the more I like them.

ABJ
8. What is your favorite word? Lease favorite word?
LISA
Favorite word - lackadaisical. Least favorite word - slog. It even looks ugly.

ABJ
9. What annoys you as a reader?
LISA
I hate when the author is obviously pointing shit out to you, like you’re stupid. I always use The Kite Runner as an example. The book is great in some aspects, but it falters in how the foreshadowing is executed. The way Hosseini foreshadows an event, it’s like he’s sitting right next to you, pinching your arm, and whispering, “Hey. Hey. You see that there? That line? Right there? Guess what? It’s foreshadowing.” Every instance of foreshadowing in that book is made to be so obvious it hurts. I’m normally good at predicting how a book will end, but I still read it because I want to see how it rides out, how the author gets to the ending. Where’s the fun when the author’s telling me what’s going to happen step-by-step?

ABJ
10. If you couldn’t be a writer what other profession would you like to attempt?
LISA
Film historian. Or a teacher.

ABJ
11. If you had to chose one theme to write about for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
LISA
I don’t write by themes really. Again, I write whatever I feel like writing. Never necessarily a theme. But if I had to choose, then depression and the unhealthy ways people deal with it.

ABJ
12. What kind of character could you never picture yourself writing?
LISA
I find it hard to write in the point-of-view of old people. Anyone from children to middle-aged, they’re fine. But old people, I can’t seem to write. I feel like part of that is because I’ve never been around old people that much. All of my grandparents were dead by the time I was eight years old. One died of AIDS before I was two (dirty syringe needles will do you in if you’re not careful), my grandparents on my dad’s side were gone when I was barely four, and the only grandparent I have actual memories of wasn’t even sixty when she past away. The oldest immediate relative of mine is only sixty-eight. As for the memories I do have, they all took place in hospitals and old folks homes, the “this-could-be-the-last-time” visits. I’m pretty sure lying in a hospital room on death’s door isn’t all an octogenarian does in his or her free time. It’s a shoddy excuse, but I can’t think of any other.

END

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