Lindy Biller lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two kids. Her fiction has recently appeared at Chestnut Review, X-R-A-Y, Superfroot Magazine, and The Lumiere Review. She works as a writer at a game design studio and research lab.
Click here to read Lindy’s story “The Sheep and the Widow” from our summer 2021 issue!
Do you write from experience? From familial memory? From daydreams or fantasies?
I love the term “familial memory.” Lately, I’ve been exploring how to write about my family’s stories and myths, and how those stories ripple through generations. My great-grandma was a genocide survivor, and that inheritance of grief and resilience has been really defining for me. I also find myself writing about my kids’ obsessions, which is probably why so many of my stories include reptiles and insects! My story in Longleaf Review was loosely inspired by the “Spider and Sheep” bedtime stories I’ve been making up for my kids for years. Hardly anything stayed the same, but still, I’ve loved seeing those characters out in the world.
If you have a regular writing practice, what do you do to protect your writing time?
The most important thing for me was giving myself permission to treat writing as a priority instead of something to squeeze in wherever it fits. I’m fortunate to have a spouse who is really supportive. We plan two mornings each week when he can take care of the kids and I can have uninterrupted writing time for a few hours. It’s so refreshing to be able to start the day with creative work. Though I still love late-night writing too. Some of the best, most amazingly weird drafts happen after 11 p.m.
Picture this: you’ve just finished a long writing session and are between the world of the page and the reality around you. What’s one action you take to root yourself back in your non-writer identity? Maybe it’s making a cup of coffee or tea, perhaps it’s a walk with a loved one or pet, or even some time reading another writer’s work.
That transition is so challenging. My husband and I call it the “writing fog.” I don’t have a specific routine, but I try to allow for at least five minutes of quiet alone time after I’m done writing, before I interact with anyone else. The transition time helps my brain readjust.
What are you currently reading? Books, magazines, the back of the cereal box, CVS receipts . . . it all counts!
I just finished Bestiary by K-Ming Chang. I’d been wanting to read it all year but told myself I had to finish some of the other new books I’d already bought first. (There are still many more.) I’m currently reading Mother Figures by Amy Barnes, and rereading Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado. I know most everybody probably knows this already, but all of these are so, so good. I can’t recommend them enough.
Where do you write? Do you have any rituals you follow before turning to the page?
When my job moved to work-from-home, I was finally forced to create an at-home writing space. I took the money I’d saved for a tattoo appointment that got canceled due to the pandemic and splurged on a desk and comfy chair, and now that’s where I write pretty much all the time. It’s been so amazing to have a separate space. As far as rituals go: coffee! Or tea, if it’s after 7 p.m.
Tell us some good news!
I was honored to find out that a flash story of mine won this year’s Fractured Lit Flash Fiction Contest, judged by K-Ming Chang. The story is such a meaningful one for me and I’m so excited to share it! I’m on Twitter and Instagram at @lindymbiller if anyone would like to connect.