L. A. Christensen

I Will Never Be in Doctor Who, poetry, issue 46, March 15, 2019

L.A. Christensen is a disabled writer and literary translator specializing in fairy tales and folklore.  She is currently working on a novel.

Get to Know L. A. Christensen:


The Ides of January.

When did you start writing?

The earliest story I remember writing was in perhaps second grade.   We wrote and illustrated stories for a class assignment and I remember holding it in my hands and beaming at the results.   Then in sixth grade I wrote a very long short story (it felt like a novel, although it didn't come anywhere close) called "Dragonkin" that was highly inspired by Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern world.  I haven't been able to resist dragons since.

When and what and where did you first get published?

The very first time I ever saw my work in print I believe was in junior high. I submitted two poems to poetry.com and they were both collected in poetry.com's regular series of anthologies.  These are probably considered vanity press publications, but at the time I was just so amazed to see my amateur work alongside other poems I admired.  Poetry.com is no longer around as a site, but I just took a peek at the Wayback Machine's internet archive, and wow that brings back memories!

Otherwise, my first professional publication was a science fiction short story published by Breath & Shadow, a disability magazine, in 2012.

Why do you write?

Wow, this is a tricky question to answer.  There's something to be said for the feeling of creating a world out of nothing and of delving into character so completely that they come alive through you.  I chase the feeling of creating and becoming, of life and living in a sphere that hadn't been there a moment ago. If the visual arts create an external world, then writing for me creates a new, richly internal one.  And I love it.

As for why I wrote this poem specifically, poetry is potent and succinct.  I could have written an essay on the same topic, but found I'd already said everything I'd wanted to share in these few words.   

Why do you write Science Fiction and/or Fantasy?

I prefer to read--and so prefer to write--anything that's not strictly "here and now," and I also generally avoid anything that claims to be "realistic."  (I've found that a search for the realistic tends to be extremely limiting, in life as well as in reading). I also rarely stay within rigid genre boundaries, but slide around in a cross-genre historical, fantasy, magical realism, folkloric, speculative, science fiction.  I'm less interested in fulfilling audience expectations and more interested in exploring what's possible and why. My realism preferences come while delving into a character, inhabiting who they are, and seeing where that takes them.

Who is your favorite author? Your favorite story?

I bounce around with favorite authors, but my current favorites are Andrea K. Höst and Annette Marie.  What intersects them for me is their focus on a wide variety of relationships, especially in Andrea K. Höst's Touchstone series and Annette Marie's Steel & Stone series.  I yearn to read more friendships, sibling and family relationships, acquaintance and work relationships, alongside the romance that is heavily prevalent and given right-of-way in plot-level story-lines and culture.  I also really appreciate how both authors create rich worlds and are unafraid to be themselves as writers, to really dive into what fascinates them and not dilute their passions or pull back.

I want to write as bravely as they do, and give myself permission to be as unabashedly myself in creating my own stories, rather than worry what others might think of xyz.

What are you trying to say with your fiction?

I want to explore hope and healing, wonder and whimsy, going from darkness into light.  I want to explore the brave journeys we take to have better relationships with ourselves, with our friends, our family, our significant others.

If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?

AMOR VINCIT OMNIA, because if I'm going to have someone laboriously (aka by machine) carve something into stone for me, it might as well be in Latin.  It's traditional.

Also because "Odi et amo. quare id faciam fortasse requiris. nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior" is perhaps too long, and I probably shouldn't put Catullus' poetry on my gravestone. People might get IDEAS.

Do you blog?

I do! You can find my writing thoughts and updates at lachristensen.wordpress.com

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