Jessica Bane Roberts’s piece can be found in EPOCH Issue 03: Roots, available to purchase here.
Why do you write CNF, and do you explore other genres in your work?
Since childhood, I have written primarily poetry–not necessarily good poetry, of course–but in poetic form. There came a time when I had to write nonfiction prose to address certain subjects more directly. When writing prose I am always acutely aware of word choice, the way a poet might be. I am always listening for rhyme and rhythm as well. And sometimes, poetry is incorporated with my prose. My memoir mixes the genres so one can see how each informs or influences the other.
Did you have a piece already written when you learned about Epoch’s theme, or did you write a new piece? If so, how did you approach the theme of Roots in the creation of your work?
This piece was already written–a recently written piece. The theme of roots is in much of my work. My work is rooted in a sense of place since I grew up close to nature on a mountain in Maine in an isolated log cabin with no electricity.
What is the biggest challenge when writing CNF?
The beauty is in the details so the adage goes. Being specific yet universal is a challenge. For me specifically, not getting too carried away with sensory description and poetics, but remembering the elements of a good story.
What’s your favourite piece of art in your home?
This is a tough one! My father is an artist–he is often present in all I write and how I approach writing and how I see the world. Our home is filled with his work from portraits of my children to surrealistic pieces and carvings. But we have two fireplace mantels in our house, and I chose paintings I wanted to look at a lot for those spaces. Over one is a stream landscape with lots of layers and colors to get lost in. Over the other, is a painting of a doll he did right before I was born. She has giant blue eyes and most people think she is creepy. My father says she looked just like me as a baby.