Thursday, December 9, 2010

Writers Talk - Tess Kincaid (aka "Willow")

Tess Kincaid aka “Willow” is a self-proclaimed magpie, poet, Hoosier by birth, who lives in small town Ohio at Willow Manor, a ramshackle limestone house on the banks of the Scioto River, with her husband and resident ghosts. She stumbled into the blogosphere on a whim one gray February day and her life hasn’t been the same since.  Feel free to stop by and pay her a visit at Life at Willow Manor.  

I'd just like to add that if you want to put together a successful blog, Life at Willow Manor would be a great model to use.  Tess has assembled a blog that is always diverting to read & is always a visual pleasure as well.  I had the pleasure of meeting Tess last spring during a cross-country road trip, & I must say that the good spirit found in her blog presentation is also abundantly there when you meet her in person.  Finally, please don't forget to check out the Writers Talk blog, where you'll find a set of three poems by Ms Kincaid!

When did you first realize your identity as a writer?

Poetry has always been an integral part of me.  My earliest memories are of my grandmother reading the delightful Hoosier poet, James Whitcomb Riley.  As a precocious colt-legged girl, I adored memorizing little pieces for “show and tell”.  Fascinated with the rhythm and textures of words, I read poetry aloud to a captive audience, my youngest sister and her stuffed animals.  It became a delicious habit, which I imposed on my closest friends, and later, my husband and children.  It wasn’t until a year or so ago, waking up one day in an empty nest, that I began to write my own poetic tools of torture. Only in recent months has it occurred to me, that I am, indeed, a poet; a curious, sadistic notion.

Describe your creative process.

I am a collector, a magpie at heart.  I keep several notebooks handy to jot down words and phrases that tickle my fancy.  Sometimes an entire poem will come to me in that wonderful semi-lucent space, just before waking, and other times the process is like digging a trench.  Most of my inspiration comes from my macro views of the mundane.

Could you describe your relationship to the publishing process?

Since I am a fairly new writer, I am currently sending my first chapbook manuscript out for publication, a process which I’ve found is not for the faint of heart.  It is, however, a huge encouragement to know hundreds are currently reading my poetry posted via my blog, Life at Willow Manor.

How has being a writer affected your relationships?

My husband and adult children have been my personal cheerleaders, but many of my friends and extended family don’t really “get” me, as a poet. I’ve learned to skirt the subject, if I throw out the word “poetry” and it lands like a dead fish on the coffee table.

How would you describe the community of writers you belong to?

It’s exciting to be part of a virtual “Bloomsbury” community of talented poets and writers. The immediate feedback and rapport is tremendously supportive. Last February, I started a creative writing group blog, Magpie Tales, which has been the impetus for much of my writing. 

What are your future goals in terms of writing?

My current goal is to procure a publisher for my poetry.  I also have a rough outline for an autobiographical novel, actually more biography than novel, since truth is often stranger than fiction.

Bonus question:  If your writing were a musical instrument, what would it be?

A button accordion, since my writing is small and quirky.


  1. This was fun. Thanks for having me, John.

  2. Hi Tess: You're very welcome--it was my pleasure to have you participate!

  3. "Small and quirky" is one way of describing your writing, Tess. Sometimes your work is a puzzle, but one the reader relishes trying to solve, or at least interpret in his or her own fashion. And there are always layers, and not just woolly ones! Fun to read these interviews of people I know, John. Thanks for doing this!