Alumni Interview Series: Kate Schatz
What was something memorable about the Creative Writing program at UCSC?
So many! Seeing my name on the list of accepted students; awesome workshops with Karen and Micah; delirious late-night writing sessions with my best friend and co-CW student Chiara Barzini; discovering the writings of Ben Marcus and Thalia Field when they came to do job talks; the excitement and stress of editing Red Wheelbarrow; readings at The Barn (pretty sure it's defunct now, but it was a great place for the literary types to hang out back in the day); Senior Thesis reading; actually finishing my thesis project!
What are you reading right now?
Aside from stacks of student plays (see the next question), emails, political blogs, and all the back issues of The New Yorker that keep piling up in my house? I adored Patti Smith's Just Kids; am loving and about to finish Eileen Myles' Inferno; and just bought and am already reveling in The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. Others on my to-read list include Danielle Dutton's Sprawl and Rebecca Solnit's Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics. I also have to finish Jonathan Safron Foer's Eating Animals, which I think is fantastic and crucial, but I keep forgetting to read the last 40 pages!
What are you doing now professionally?
I teach Literary Arts at Oakland School for the Arts, an arts school located in Oakland's historic Fox Theater. I also co-edit The Encyclopedia Project; we just published the second volume of our project, Encyclopedia Vol 2 F-K. I published a book of fiction, Rid of Me: A Story, three years ago. I also continue to write, when I can find the time! (see below...)
Do you still write, and if so how do you find the time?
Yes, though with work, Encyclopedia, and—most significantly—my dear toddler Ivy, I'm not producing as much as I was pre-baby. I'm working on a new story right now, though, and I did complete a 50,000 word "novel" during National Novel Writing Month (I put the air quotes around "novel" because it's an unedited crazy mess. But hey! I did it :) NaNoWriMo was great because it helped me figure out how to prioritize my writing—I'll be writing a screenplay in April for ScriptFrenzy, the NaNoWriMo screen/playwriting component.
Earnest Hemingway has been described as a master of brevity. Let's one-up him. Could you describe your favorite written work (written by you) in a single word?
Your least favorite?
And finally, do you have any words of advice for Creative Writing majors, or for people who are interested in applying?
For those considering applying: Do it! Submit work that shows a range and a willingness to take creative and aesthetic risks. And if you don't get in right away, keep at it! Apply again and again. For current CW majors: Write, write, write, and read, read, read. Immerse yourself in the literary world: discover new writers and presses, go to readings, browse independent bookstores. Take advantage of this magical time when you can produce and produce, and get focused feedback and attention from amazing faculty and willing peers. Have fun, take risks. Be awesome.