Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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 bill berry, jr.

Publisher and CEO, aaduna &
Member, Rockford Kingsley's Advisory Board
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Christine Green
 

 

 

   

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Christine Green's Poem Titled:

 
 
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Her NonFiction Work Titled:
 
  

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E-ViewPoints

 
Interview With Christine Green
 
bill berry, jr.
 
Welcome to another edition of E-ViewPoints. This month I am pleased to present a writer who is surely a rising star. Christine Green resides in Brockport, New York with her husband and two children, a daughter who is 10 and son who is 6. She holds a MA degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and when not writing, she works as a personal assistant and is involved in the field of family management. While Christine declares herself as “old”, she is a vibrant, creative, and focused “thirty-something” as she sometimes describes herself. In the 2011 Spring/Summer Issue of aaduna, we published her work in the poetry, fiction, and non-fiction areas. Fortunately, she is of the point, shoot, cut, paste, scrapbook genre of visual artist, otherwise, we would have been forced to change aaduna’s name to The Green Literary and Art Journal!           
 
 
bill: 
You are half-Mexican (from San Jose, CA) in a country that has only recently recognized the importance of bi-racial/cultural backgrounds in the federal government’s 2010 Census. You studied anthropology at UC Berkeley and received your graduate degree in that field. Did your ethnic background frame your upbringing and determination of academic studies, and how critical is your background to the life choices you have made to date? And where are your parents from; what is their ‘history’?
 
Christine:
My mother is Mexican-American and was born and raised in Denver, CO. My father was (he passed away when I was 21) from the Midwest and was raised in St. Louis. His background is mostly of German descent. My parents met in Colorado when my father was teaching at the University of Denver.
 
Being of mixed racial descent certainly had an impact on me, though it was a positive one. I believe that my sister and I both felt privileged to have a rich and diverse cultural life amongst loving and caring family on both my father and mother’s sides. My upbringing as a person of mixed heritage has allowed me to be more sensitive to people in general, and, as cliché as it may sound, not to judge a book by its cover, as they say. 
 
My mixed racial background did not influence my choice of major (my focus was Colonial American historical archaeology), though it did influence my early writing.  I, along with several members of UC Berkeley’s Multicultural & Interracial Student Coalition (Misc.), formed a group called “Voices.” Together we compiled an anthology of poetry and prose about and by people of mixed racial, cultural, and religious descent. Our publication was aptly named, “Sum-Thing Inevitable.” 
 
In terms of life choices, my racial and ethnic background has not necessarily driven me in one particular direction or another, at this point. Though, of course, my German-Mexican heritage is something I am very proud of. I hope to instill this same pride in my children. In some ways they seems so far removed from the rich influence of the Mexican-American culture I grew up with in California, and I mourn that we aren’t nearer to either side of my family.
 
bill:
And as you know, our part of New York State, probably due to its rural and agricultural environment, is not necessarily brimming with racial diversity though there are significant influences in the major cities, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, and to another degree in Ithaca because of Cornell’s presence. 
 
While your mixed background influenced your early writing, I noticed that your public writing (most noticeably your blog, “Grown Ups Are Like That”) center on issues of parenting, motherhood, and general women’s issues. Your pieces in aaduna also touch on an encompassing sense of family dynamics and nuances (with a cultural tinge). Is family the structural framework from which you write currently? And how much of your life experiences is embedded in what you write?
 
Christine:
Yes, there is certain diversity on the bigger cities. But because of the demographic differences between the East and West coats, I have not met many Mexican-Americans or persons of mixed decent in this area that have had similar life experiences or background.
 
I don’t, at this point, write much fiction, so most of my creative writing endeavors do come from my real life experiences. Since my children are still so young, and I stayed home with them for many years, motherhood naturally plays a major part in what I write. But I do like to explore other subjects such as dream imagery and memory.
 
bill:
While maybe not reflective of similar life experiences, the Chicanos/Latinos I have met in our region tend to be part of the migrant workers community that keeps the farms in this area productive. And in some cases, their children were born in NY. Nonetheless, I wanted to chide you on saying you are “old” with such young children. Your writing has a youthful spirit. Please explain the dream imagery and memory components of the work you produce.  
 
Christine:
I have tremendous respect and admiration for the migrant farm workers and their families in my community and in the communities I lived in when I was out west. These people literally put food on our tables, yet they are often over looked and under appreciated by many Americans.
 
I actually really like to write about my dreams. I have always had very vivid, intense dreams that stick with me for days, months, and even years. I find it quite fun to write about what I have dreamt, even if it is only a scribble in my journal upon waking.
 
As for memories, I find that when I struggle to find a topic to write about I dig through old photos, journals, childhood scrapbooks, etc. I often will call my mother or an old friend to talk over a shared experience from the past. Linda Barry’s What It Is has some wonderful writing exercises based on memory that have helped me as well. Right now I am working on a piece about some exaggerated memories I have from my younger years. It is interesting to mull over about those moments where we think something happened one way, but in fact we are really misremembering the event. Often we forget key facts, people, places, etc. Or, conversely, we add details that never actually were a part of the story. These constructed and selective memories shape our views about our families, our pasts, and ourselves, and I’m really fascinated by them.
 
bill:
I dream every night and try to bring closure to that experience while sleeping so I can start anew the next night. I have even tried to dream in episodes (chuckling). But that is besides the point…. 
 
You grew up the daughter of a college professor; your husband teaches at the college level, and you are well educated. Does being a part of the academic environment pose levels of expectations, demands, or nuances that influence you as a writer? Do you routinely present your work to faculty groups or students?         
 
Christine:
I have never presented my writing to any academic group. I really like and enjoy my husband’s colleagues and our friends from the college, but I have not become part of the academic environment myself. I certainly know and am friends with some writers from the university, but since I don’t actually work here at the college [State University of New York College at Brockport], I am not part of the more intimate academic community.
 
How does being a part of the academic environment pose levels of expectations, demands, or nuances that influence me as a writer? Well, its expectations don’t really play a part in my writing. I’m not working towards tenure, I’m not teaching students the skills associated with writing, and I’m not attending or presenting at academic conferences, etc. That is actually very freeing. On the flip side, I don’t really have a ready venue for presenting my work. I also have very little knowledge of the academic networks I would need to be a part of in order to get more of my work published. Nonetheless, supportive people surround me. I know many writers and artists (both academic and non-academic) and we support and honor each other however and whenever we can.
 
bill:
Well, on the first Saturday in May, you joined other writers and read a selection of your work at the Village Gate complex in Rochester, NY. What was that experience like and did you learn anything about yourself or the process of self-promotion? 
 
Christine:
Reading with my fellow Mother Muse contributors was a wonderful experience! I learned that 1) no matter how many times I speak in public I am terrified right before and that 2) when I get up in front of an audience my fear disappears and I feel right at home.  
 
 
bill:
As a member of that audience, I felt you were poised, focused, and compelling; so much for perceived fear. Anyway, I noticed that your work in the current issue of aaduna has a different style and theme than your other works. Is there a particular ambiance that will shape your future work? And where do you want to go with your writing?    
 
Christine:
Thanks for the compliment!
 
I wish I had an easier answer to this, but as of right now I don’t know that any particular ambiance will permeate my future work. So far, I am scheduled to write a piece for the American Cancer Society’s “Choose You” blog: http://blog.chooseyou.com/ about my malignant melanoma diagnosis in 2001. And, of course, I’ll keep writing about my children and family. I’m also currently working on the “May Day” blog (http://maydaymusings2011.blogspot.com/) where artists and writers can share their thoughts about the death of Osama bin Laden and the war. 
 
I’d guess you’d say that life will lead my writing wherever it needs to go. I’m just along for the ride….J
 
bill:
I trust your medical condition turned the appropriate corner and you are happily in a state of excellent well-being. With that said, thank you for chatting with me, and do you have any final thoughts or advice for the Rockford Kingsley readership?
 
Christine:
Yes—I’m right as rain now! 
 
I’ve had a great time chatting with you and sharing my story. My final bit of advice for Rockford Kingsley readers: Self-confidence must be cultivated. Many think that you either have it or you don’t, but this simply isn’t true. One must practice at self-acceptance and assertiveness before it becomes a true part of your life.
 
Learn how to love yourself and you can touch the stars.
 
 
  

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