The following excerpt is part of our interview series where we talk to members of the lesbian literary community. A longer version of this interview will appear in an upcoming issue of our literary journal, Serendipity.
Anondra “Kat” Williams is a writer, poet, radio host, and all around lover of words. Her first foray into writing was black girl love, released in 2011. In 2013 she released SistaGirl. Her work is currently featured in the anthologies Life, Love & Lust 1 & 2, a collection of short stories; Her Voice, a collection, of poetry; and G.R.I.T.S-Girls Raised In The South: An Anthology on Southern Queer Womyn’s Voices and Their Allies. In 2009 she started Shades Retreat, an empowerment, growth, and change retreat for queer women of color.
What has surprised you the most about being a writer?
The ease and non-ease if that makes sense. Some days I can scribble with no end in sight, other days I can’t find the letter E in a sentence I wrote two months prior. It’s hit and miss, come and go, and honestly, I love it. I like the idea that the writing takes work, even when it appears that it doesn’t.
The second thing that surprised me was readers, their attachment to certain characters, situations, or trains of thought. They know this person, they are this person, they’ve been there, thought that. The ownership is amazing and beautiful at the same damn time.
What sparked the inspiration or idea for your most recent work, Pat Greene: Her Story?
Pat Greene has actually been a work in progress for five to six years now. I stopped and started on her whenever she told me it was time to do so. I finally finished her up at a crucial moment in my life. Perfect timing really. She was ready for the world and I guess I was too.
Tell us more about why you started the Shades Retreat and how has it evolved over the years?
I started Shades Retreat for several reasons with the primary being that I needed it. It being surrounded by sisters who were looking for more than and who wanted to plant seeds of something. I translated those seeds into the words: empowerment, growth and change, all of which happens to some extent at Shades, plus much much more. We commune and we connect in the middle of laughing, hugging, and some crying. We do all this in the woods of Georgia with no internet, no cable TV, and no major shopping centers. Just us. Sistas planting seeds. It’s been a fantastic eight years and I believe we have a few more to go. I say two but the sistas say otherwise.
How do you overcome writer’s block? If you’ve never experienced it, how have you avoided it?
If I can’t write I think or post scenarios on Facebook. That tends to help me out a lot, the thinking and posting. If that doesn’t work then I try a word exercise where I just write down words in no particular order. Generally, from that, I will produce a sentence or two, a thought on a new short or a piece of poetry.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Cheese. Seriously, I love good cheese and crackers. After that is stupid shows on TV. I prefer shows that don’t require me to think much, just observe, laugh or gasp and it’s over within thirty to sixty minutes.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
Write. Don’t worry about who will read it, just write.