Meet our Senior Columns Editor, DW McKinney (she/her). DW is a Black American essayist and interviewer living in Nevada. We asked her to share a bit more about herself in a new series we’re running for our editors. Here are DW’s 10 questions.
What are your writing rituals?
I have routines more than rituals. I alternate between editorial work and my personal writing in certain genres by day of the week. Wednesdays and weekends are for rest. I don’t listen to music while writing unless I need intense focus (heartbeat recordings) or high energy flows (hip-hop and [t]rap).
Who is a writer who inspires you and why?
NK Jemisin is amazing at worldbuilding and character development. Her characters are memorable and tangible to who we are in real life. I also love how she weaves cultural and social criticism in her work. She inspires me to dig deeper in my storytelling and to pull up a richness that I cannot yet fathom.
What book has a significant influence on you/your writing?
I talk about Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings often because it truly came to me at the right time in my childhood. It showed me how autobiography could be poetic. It educated me. It echoed parts of my personal life. It was a reflection of me. I felt a deep comfort in the pages and I am forever grateful.
Describe your dream submission.
My dream submission is one that elicits a strong response for me, whether that response is to shout or run or stop and evaluate my own life. I don’t want to be a passive viewer in whatever the writer is describing. I want to be pulled under and through alongside them.
Why does writing matter to you?
When I was growing up, I often felt like I couldn’t talk about certain things. I couldn’t use my entire voice, so I wrote. My journals became safe spaces for me to ask questions and express myself without fear of retribution. Now, writing continues to be an expression of the whole me and a medium for me to explore and become happily lost in the unknown.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading EMBODIED: An Intersectional Comics Poetry Anthology edited by Wendy and Tyler Chin-Tanner. It blends poetry and graphic illustrations created by cis female, trans, and non-binary poets and artists.
How do you create joy?
Most of my joy lately comes from surrendering to happy moments. Because of the traumas in these past few years, I tend to speed through positive moments. Now I’m learning to wade in them to find happiness that becomes the kind of joy that feeds my spirit.
How do you create space to write?
I create hard boundaries and set a schedule that allows for a minimum of 2-4 writing hours each weekday, except for Wednesdays when I rest. Boundaries keep all the other needs (and wants) separate from time that’s just for me. I don’t run errands during writing time. If the house is on fire, I trust that there is another person who can put it out while I mind my business.
What do you love about Raising Mothers?
I love that Raising Mothers creates room for the universality of motherhood. I see more of myself, my mother, my grandmothers, my aunties, and my friends in every poem, essay, and story that is published.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am querying my memoir manuscript and working on an essay collection.
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