Amanda Erin: J.D. Salinger, because he was the one that got me into stream of consciousness writing. I would love to get into his head and learn how The Catcher in the Rye started, and how he finished the novel, as I don’t feel that I could ever commit to a piece long enough for it to become a novel.
F: Do you feel that feminism strengthens your perspective as a writer? How so?
AE: I would say feminism strengthens my perspective as a writer just as much as being human does. Not being a feminist doesn’t make sense to me. Inequality seems to be something that most of us experience as part of the human condition, and I guess being aware of the inequality I experience specifically helps fuel my writing sometimes. Passion and some kind of drive are necessary to create good art.
F: You mentioned that you love writing about relationships between people. Do you think your poetry gives you an insight on your relationships that you wouldn’t have otherwise?
AE: A lot of the time, I write about a relationship to figure it out. For example, I had a relationship end last year and I spent a few days in shock before I could really process what happened. I could not for the life of me understand what I had done wrong. I couldn’t do anything but blame myself. I don’t think I understood it until I sat down and wrote “This Is How You Fall Apart”, and a few days later “Mutual Surrender”. I’m not sure if I would understand myself, other people or things that I experience quite as well if I wasn’t a writer. I can’t imagine how other people do it.
F: What is the most valuable life lesson you learned through poetry?
AE: Everything is a working document. Even when I think a piece is finished, and I’ve published it somewhere, I’m always making changes and editing it. I’m trying to take life that way as well.
F: How has poetry shaped your perspective on the human condition?
AE: I think I’m less of a romantic when it comes to the human condition now that I’m a writer. Things happen to people. That is the only truth I can trust. People come and go. People will wreck you. People will save you. Love isn’t a fairytale. It takes work and good timing. It isn’t all about whether you love each or not sometimes.
F: What advice would you give to your former self (or younger writers) about writing?
AE: Don’t stop. Write every day, even if you think it sucks. It’ll work out. If you’re really a writer, you’ll want to keep doing it, you’ll want to keep getting better, even if you aren’t where you want to be at that moment in time. The only way you won’t get there is if you stop.
Amanda Erin is an unpublished slam poet and songwriter from LaGrange, NY. She started working with words seriously in 2009 and hasn’t stopped since. In the past year, she has released her two solo albums, Dreams Change (2014) and Through My Eyes (2015). When she isn’t writing, Erin spends her time studying psychology at Stony Brook University, working on Stony Brook’s research journal, and hating organic chemistry.