I primarily write poetry, but I started out as a short story writer. When we were living in New Hampshire, I was halfway through writing a novel, when we had our first son. I soon discovered that large blocks of time were no longer available to me. Naptime was also quite elusive, so I would bundle up my baby and drive to the coast. I would bring a blank journal with me, so I could write in my parked car, by the sea. I discovered that if I timed it just right, I would have about an hour to write the beginning rough draft of a poem, before I had to drive home. Each naptime became an opportunity to go back to that poem, or start writing a new one. It wasn’t ideal, but it gave me a sense of completion. During this time, I wrote a collaborative, ekphrastic poetry collection, with an artist from NY. It was a collaboration of correspondence. The artist would e-mail me an image of one of her watercolor paintings, and I would write a poem about it, based on my interpretation. This took about 2 years to write—one poem at a time, and one nap at a time.
Most writers will tell you that they write, because they cannot even fathom not writing. I will raise my hand and say that this is true. I can feel my fingers get twitchy, if I go too many days without writing. I’m guessing that my family can tell when I need to get out of the house and have a writing session. It definitely helps to have a supportive family, if you are a writer. We are mysterious creatures to live with. When my husband and I were first married, and living in England, I will never forget the day I received my first acceptance letter for a short story I wrote. I was doing customer service work for British Gas, and was on the late shift, so I was home to receive the mail. This was years before the days of e-mail acceptances. I opened the letter and didn’t have anyone home to share the news with, so I jumped up and down in our small, green wall-papered bungalow. So, this was what it felt like, to know what you wanted to do for the rest of your life!
I don’t necessarily write every day, but I engage in the creative process on a daily basis. I write, I brainstorm ideas and let things percolate, I design jewelry, and I ponder the first lines of poems, while sitting near our frog pond in the backyard. I also go for long walks in nature, to clear my head. Just around the corner from us is a lake. I walk past the water, and the trees guide me—they take me out of myself. It is so easy to get lost in your own head, as a writer. Nature helps to ground that energy. One day I might spend 3 hours writing, and the next day, I’ll make a wire-wrapped stone ring. I try not to be too rigid in my process, but if I’m working to a deadline, I have been known to sit with my laptop for hours on end, without even getting up to use the restroom. This is probably not advisable. My husband calls it, “target acquisition fixation,” but I call it being in the flow, and maybe being slightly obsessed with my current writing project.
Cristina M. R. Norcross is the founding editor of the online poetry journal, Blue Heron Review, and lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their two sons. She is the author of 7 poetry collections including – Land & Sea: Poetry Inspired by Art (2007) with co-author Irene Ruddock; The Red Drum (Lone Gull Press, 2013); Unsung Love Songs (2010); The Lava Storyteller (Red Mare Press, 2013); Living Nature’s Moments: A Conversation Between Poetry and Photography (Vox Novus, 2014) with co-author, Patricia Bashford; Amnesia and Awakenings (Local Gems Press, 2016); and Still Life Stories (Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books, 2016). Cristina’s 8thpoetry collection was recently accepted by Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books (forthcoming). Her works have been published in numerous North American and international journals, such as: Red Cedar, Your Daily Poem, Lime Hawk, Visual Verse, The Toronto Quarterly, Silver Birch Press, The Poetry Storehouse, The Avocet, Right Hand Pointing, Verse-Virtual, and Pirene’s Fountain, among others. Cristina’s work also appears in the anthologies, Contemporary Women’s Literature (2007), Verse & Vision (2011, 2012), Sounds of Solace (2013), A Touch of Saccharine (2014), An Ariel Anthology: transformational poetry & art (2014, 2015), Twice Upon a Time (2015), Secrets and Dreams (2016), Poets4Paris(2016), The Poets’ Almanac(2016, 2017, 2018), and the Bards Against Hunger Anthology(2017). She was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Competition and a finalist in the 2015 Five Oaks Press Chapbook Contest. Cristina was the co-editor of the project, One Vision: A Fusion of Art & Poetry in Lake Country (2009-11). She is one of the co-founders of Random Acts of Poetry and Art Day (Feb. 20th). When she is not writing poetry, Cristina enjoys nature photography and designing jewelry, often using recycled or upcycled materials. If she can put a hole in it, she can turn it into a pair of earrings.
Blue Heron Review website
Bikubeads Etsy page (signed books, poetry cards, handmade jewelry)
Random Acts of Poetry and Art Day Facebook
100 Thousand Poets for Change Facebook event page
On LinkedIn as Cristina Norcross
Short Film based on “The Red Drum,” Published in The Red Drum: Selected and New Poems (Lone Gull Press, 2013). Audio file and video remix available at The Poetry Storehouse Video; remix by filmmaker, Marie Craven.
Linda K. Sienkiewicz is the author of the award-winning novel In the Context of Love, a story about one woman’s need to tell her truth without shame.
2017 New Apple Book Awards Official Selection
2016 Sarton Women’s Fiction Finalist
2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist
2016 Readers’ Favorite Finalist
2016 USA Book News Best Book Finalist
“…at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey.” ~ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage, and critically acclaimed Once Upon a River,and Mothers, Tell Your Daughters