Oyster River Pages: How has your writing or art changed over time?
Natasha King: When I was younger, all of my poems started out exactly 32 lines long. I wrote them on sheets of college-ruled paper half-hidden under the school notes I was meant to be taking. Now I write poetry in little notebooks and have to pack more into each line. I'm also trying to write poems that tell more of a story, due to feedback that my pieces often describe only a single static concept, without a clear end or purpose. Don't get me wrong, I still love a good 32-liner describing the way a praying mantis cleans her face after eating a bug and nothing else, but I think it's good for me to practice more dynamic narratives as well.
ORP: Do you consider your writing/artistic time to be work or play?
NK: I think the best pursuits can be a bit of both, effort and pleasure not being mutually exclusive. Writing is both for me. Sometimes the words don't come easily, and nothing feels right, and so then writing is hard, and it's frustrating, and it's labor. Sometimes—usually when there's something else I should be doing instead—the words and the marine biology metaphors pour out, and so then writing is breathing: it's natural, it's vital, it's reflexive. But it's always work, and it's always play.
ORP: What’s next for you artistically?
NK: It's my intention to continue focusing on poetry and short fiction for a while. I am also mulling over the seed of an idea for a creative nonfiction piece, since it's been a long time since I wrote anything in that genre.
ORP: How does writing or making art change you?
NK: Writing for me is frequently an exercise of and for self-awareness. Poetry in particular helps me to crystallize my feelings and experiences, and explore what they mean in different contexts. I like to think that writing makes me more of who I want to be.
ORP: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
NK: Pay more attention, all the time. Be watching and listening and absorbing, whenever possible.
ORP: Who do you hope reads your work and why?
NK: I really hope a zoology enthusiast reads it, is delighted by the squid comparisons, and then we exchange nature trivia.
Natasha King's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Glintmoon, Lily Poetry Review, and others. She lives in North Carolina and reserves her spare time for writing, prowling, and thinking about the ocean. She can be found on Twitter under @pelagic_natasha. Hear Natasha read her poetry here.