Pauletta Brooks is a class act. She is a creative soul with a light playful spirit and a sophisticated, wise disposition. Her stories are a blend of emotional weight and whimsy. It doesn't surprise me that she sits upon her fire escape, a la Holly Golightly, and writes.
Please welcome Pauletta Brooks...
What do you do in real life?
"REAL LIFE", as in making a living?? I have a jewelry design business. It keeps me always a bit frantic and on the edge of insanity, but also keeps me in touch with a creative side of my brain and keeps my hands out of trouble!
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I realized something other than transcendental meditation was needed to get my mind to relax. I never actually call myself a 'writer' by the way. When I was a kid I'd write poetry, plays or funny ad campaigns for TV commercials, but I also struggled with writing in school. It never came easy to me. Writing picture books has been a great joy for me primarily because I don't consider myself a 'writer' in the formal sense and can therefore enjoy the process without the worry of having to get published.
How often do you write? Where? What time of day?
I find my brain is most relaxed in the late afternoon, when many of the To Do items have been tackled and I can grab a few moments to sit out on my fire escape and work on some of the ideas that have been floating around my head. It's sporadic, for sure. I keep a notebook filled with ideas for stories. A lot of 'starts' waiting to be worked on. When the mood strikes, I grab that notebook and will write and edit. I generally have to remove myself from all other distractions. But it becomes "my time" and I always feel rewarded.
What was your favorite story/book as a child? and why?
I read and reread The Phantom Tollbooth so many times. As well, Edith Hamilton's Greek Mythology. Both are books that take you on a journey to a fantasy place but not in a sci-fi way.
I don't look for inspiration, somehow it finds me. Today for example, as I was walking along 14th St there were two elderly people speaking to each other. Clearly, hard of hearing, they both spoke in a volume that allowed me to hear their conversation halfway down the block. The woman, about 4' 2", well over 80 and overly saturated with rouge on her cheeks, asked the man "So, what-a-ya' gonna go eat?' His response was, "Well, because I am a cannibal, I will have to eat you first, then maybe a BLT". This was an odd and unexpected thing to hear and could easily inspire a story. I think I'm more suited to concept books though as I fancy myself an 'idea' person more than a 'word' person.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Always an artist of some sort. I had a fascination for making things: dances, puppets, doll clothes, stories or plays with costumes, mud cakes…. I never wanted to be anything other than just a kid in a kid world.
If you could go back in time and tell your 8 year old self one thing, what would it be?
Don't let others hold you back. You don't have to be the best, you just have to be.
What is the greatest piece of writing advice you have ever received? Lately, 2 things have hit home: 1.Stop writing and start listening; 2.ECONOMY of words. It only takes 6 words to tell a whole story.
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