Into the Woods:
An interview with Michelle Augello-Page
Michelle Augello-Page is the author of Into the Woods, published in 2014 by Oneiros Books. We recently had a chance to ask her a few questions about her literary influences and inspirations. Here’s what she had to say.
Who are your top 5 favorite authors or influences, and why?
It is very difficult to limit my favorite authors or influences to five! So I will choose 5 that immediately come to mind at this moment in time:
Angela Carter – My favorite book by her is The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories. The stories in this collection are rough-cut jewels: sharp, brutal, beautiful. The first story I ever read by her was called “Reflections” and everything about it touched me to the core of my soul, knowing that even though I wasn’t there yet, this was where I, too, lived as a writer.
Carl Jung – I’d say that his body of work has influenced me a great deal, and has given me a deeper sense of understanding and connecting the links among psychology, dreams, archetypes, storytelling, and life. I love Memories, Dreams, Reflections and The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious.
Adrienne Rich – Her book of Collected Early Poems: 1950-1970 is one of my most beloved books, and was my first introduction to Rich’s work and (by extension) to poetry itself as a life-long pursuit, a journey rooted in but also transcending the cycles of time and change, an imprint of the “depth and breadth” of one’s personal and creative life. I also love Diving into the Wreck and her sexuality/gender focused political essays.
Margaret Atwood – Her prolific body of work is impressive and varied, and I love that she continues to evolve, stretching even beyond herself. As a writer of fiction, short stories, poetry, and essays, she refuses to be locked into a genre. She has cultivated her own uniqueness, which only grows deeper and more refined with each creation. My favorite books by her are The Handmaid’s Tale and Power Politics.
Stephen King – One of my favorite books about writing is King’s On Writing. Growing up, I devoured King’s books. He has such an ease to his writing that really draws you in, while telling some of the strangest, most horrific stories one could imagine. He is a master of both storytelling and balancing dichotomies. My favorites are The Dead Zone and The Eyes of the Dragon.
What type of writing fuel do you prefer, and what – if anything – do you feel this contributes to your creative process?
My writing fuel is tea, coffee, music, and visual images. Many times when I write I listen to music through headphones, which provides a sort of background emotional undercurrent, a tether, and helps me block out all other worlds except for the one I am writing.
What inspired you to write your latest book?
I was inspired to write my latest book by fairy tales, mythology, language, transformations, relationships, love, and sex.
Pirates or ninjas, and why?
If pressed to choose, I’d say pirates, but if we are going that route I’d say that it’s what is in the sea that interests me most!
Give us one piece of sage advice on writing, relationships, or life in general.
“Fail Better.” – Samuel Beckett
If you were a cocktail, what would you be called, and what’s the recipe?
If I were a cocktail, I’d be an Absinthe Bomb.
- Fill 3/4 of a large glass with lemon infused vodka
- Place a sugar cube and an ice cube in the glass
- Drop in a shot-glass filled with absinthe: drink up!
If you were to write an open letter to a famous author (living or dead), who would it be, and what would it say?
I would write a letter to the Brothers Grimm, thanking them for finding and cataloging the oral stories into written form.
Where can we find you on a typical Friday night, and what kind of trouble are you getting into there?
On a typical Friday night, you can find me in shadows of smoke and mirrors (lucid nightmares, waking dreams), tripping words strung-out sentences, revealing skin, exposing language, stripped to the soul / at the edge of raw desire / dark chaos giving birth to a dancing star.
What are you currently working on, and why does it kick ass?
I’m currently working on an illustrated chapbook of poetry called Persephone’s Affliction. Because I am a professional writer, I tend to focus most of my creative energy there. Drawing and creating visual art is a very important part in how I create stories, but it is something I usually keep to myself. I think it kicks ass to go into new territory, to bring other parts of yourself into your work, and to expand your own definition of how and what you create, when you create art.
Do you have any talismans, charms, superstitions or music that inspires or helps you to write, and what’s the story behind them?
By my desk, I have a few inspirational things that I’m not quite sure are talismans or charms, but they’ve kind of collected here: a tiny wooden Buddha, a tiny iron Ganesh, a skeleton holding a pumpkin and gold coins, scattered sea shells and rocks, loose change, small gifts from my children, dried sage, a little muslin bag of lavender & chamomile from a friend.
My daughters and I drew stars around the computer monitor with a silver marker, and the surface of my desk has been marked with black: stars, hearts, skulls, pentagrams, a quote by Joseph Campbell, “Follow your Bliss, and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t even know they were going to be,” and one by Samuel Beckett: “Fail Better.”
What’s your exercise or sport of choice when getting out from behind the desk?
Walking. Swimming. Yoga. Masturbation. Sex.
For more from Michelle, find her on Facebook or check out her website at michelleaugellopage.wordpress.com.