Chila Woychik (she/her) is originally from the beautiful land of Bavaria. She has been published in journals such as Cimarron, Passages North, Portland Review, Stonecoast, and others, and has an essay collection, Singing the Land: A Rural Chronology (Shanti Arts, 2020). She won Storm Cellar’s 2019 Flash Majeure Contest, Emry’s 2016 Linda Julian Creative Nonfiction Award, and finaled in several others. She admires German chocolate, earth-based living, and every good and true thing. www.chilawoychik.com and Facebook here. Chila’s piece, “Shambala: Mythical City of the Heart” is featured in Epoch Press’ Autumn issue, ‘Transitions’ which you can pick up here.
1. ‘Transitions’ is such an evocative theme, what compelled you to submit for this issue?
I had just finished an essay attesting to important transitions in my own life and how I felt those transitions approximated the idea of Shambala: a place of peace and tranquility. I thought the two might form a good marriage – the theme and the essay.
2. Do you have a routine for writing? If so, what is it and how has it evolved?
Before I transcribe a single word, I first must feel it deeply. This has served me well. I simply cannot ‘write to be writing.’ So there’s not a set time or place for me; I write as I’m deeply moved by something said or seen or felt. I once or twice tried sitting my arse down in a chair at a certain time to write some formulated this or that, but it simply didn’t work, so I continued to listen to my heart tell my mind to do what works best.
3. Do you find that CNF comes easy to you as a writer and/or what is challenging about it? For poets: What is most challenging and most rewarding about using real life in your poetry?
Growing up, my only reading material was a set of encyclopedias, and I read through the entire set before I finished high school. Therefore, it may be a given that I far prefer facts to fiction and truth to fancy. Challenging to me is the ‘make it new’ adage, and I indeed struggle to do just that with each new essay. I weary of sameness and so am always stretching for something different.
4. What song is on repeat for you right now?
Concrete Blonde’s “Someday”