Busy busy busy. Only a few more days until the submission deadline for Issue 10. Hurry hurry hurry.
Is this your first contest win? How did it feel?
Yes, it is! I was really surprised and happy.
Tell me more about “Dormant Trigger.”
I wrote “Dormant Trigger” to explore the shifting understanding of relationships with ornery people in adulthood. I think, when we’re young, the mean girls and boys seem to wield a power that’s beyond our ability to see through, at the time. As we get older, maybe we see their insecurities and our own vulnerabilities clearer, yet somehow, those stings of alienation from childhood seem to lie dormant inside of us. As kids, we can’t respond because we’re too afraid or embarrassed. As adults, we can’t respond because we don’t want to lose our jobs! It’s funny how people change (or don’t) and the perspective of adulthood, realizing the nuances of behavior and possessing the ability to contemplate them intellectually or to feel them intuitively, and yet still to feel the sting as a child does.
Who or what inspires you to write?
My fellow writers from my graduate program at University of Southern Mississippi definitely inspire me to write. We’ve been sharing our work with each other for the last ten years. Mike Bassett and Jordan Sanderson are great poets, critics, and two of my best friends. They have mastered the perfect blend of no-nonsense criticism and kind encouragement. No doubt, they learned this from our amazing professor, Angela Ball, who is also a great poet, critic, and friend.
What or who do you consider your greatest influences?
Well, when I was growing up, it was Wonder Woman! It was the 80s and my parents bought me Wonder Woman Underoos for Christmas. I used to run around the neighborhood in them, fighting crime. It was pretty great. I loved (and love) any strong, inspirational woman, from Buffy to Gloria Steinem.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Figure out when you’re at your best, as a writer, and try to create a writing routine around that time. It doesn’t always work and sometimes inspiration just comes when it comes. When it doesn’t, though, you’ll at least have carved out a time to play around with your writing. I used to write mostly in the mornings. I felt more open and connected then. I did that for three years. Then, this last summer, I suddenly just wanted to write in the afternoons. I don’t know why I felt this way, but I changed my writing time for it. Of course, I don’t schedule the time during my long teaching days (although I’ve been known to sneak in a poem while my class is doing group work). Just make sure that your writing time is something you look forward to attending, lest it become the classic ill-fated workout program.
Do you have a website or a blog for your writing?
Yes, I recently started a website: www.shantiweiland.com.
What do you enjoy doing (aside from winning poetry contests)?
I enjoy reading on the porch and greeting my neighbors who walk their dogs around the neighborhood. Friendly neighbors and front porches are a couple perks that I enjoy, living in the south! I also enjoy cooking and playing with my pet dogs and cat.
What are you currently working on? Where can we read your work next?
I am currently shopping my poetry manuscript “Sister Nun,” which is about a woman who joins a Buddhist convent in response to a broken heart. The manuscript begins with the speaker, who names herself “Sister Nun,” escaping over the wall of the convent even though she has, in no way, been held captive. During the rest of the manuscript (and the rest of her life, which spans over 215 years, not including her casual second-coming) she explores her identity, sexuality, and the path to enlightenment by wrestling alligators, vacationing in hell, and traveling through time and space.
I have two poems forthcoming in Madhatter’s Review, “Bruise” and “Match.” Two Cities Review is publishing “Our Mothers” in March, and “Fantasy Cheryl” comes out in January in Toad The Journal.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yes, I would like to thank Bop Dead City for doing such great work! Also, thank you for including me in your journal.