Chris Kraus's new book on Kathy Acker, After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography, was published this week by Semiotext(e). At The Creative Independent, Kraus talks with Brandon Stosuy about her writing habits and the process of research and reflection that led to the Acker book. Read an excerpt below, or the full interview here.
Do you have writing rituals?
I like to piss around in the morning, doing errands and regular stuff, and settle down to work around noon. Always in my office, always with the wood blinds closed and a candle. If I’m really into it, usually farther along, I’ll go back to work in the evening.
How do you avoid writer’s block? If you are blocked, how do you get through it?
I’m not someone who writes every day, or feels like they have to. I only get into a writing routine once I’ve started a project. “Blocked” usually means it’s not time yet, or it’s the wrong thing. I cast around for about a year before deciding to work on the [Kathy] Acker biography...
As far as your creative work is concerned, how do you define success and failure?
I don’t see it in such absolute terms. Sometimes I’m very pleased with something that doesn’t connect with an audience as much as I’d hoped. Other times I secretly think something is over-praised.
What kinds of things do you do to nourish your creative side when you’re not working on a project?
Reading, wilderness trips, poking around strange towns and cities. But there are also long periods of anxiety, thinking the idea will never come.
Image of Chris Kraus via tsl.news.