ISSUE 1 VOL 1 PROFILE: Amanda Watson

essay //
The White Dress 

HLR: Where do you write? 

At the coffee table on a zafu, next to my dog.

HLR: Where do you publish? 

Lately, newspapers. I have a book chapter coming out this summer and some journal articles coming down the pipe, but my favourite reading and writing is creative nonfiction. I'd like to be publishing in literary magazines.

HLR: What kinds of genres do you write in? 

I usually write scholarly articles or advocacy journalism. I also write literary essays and poetry. I love switching genres. I feel like a witch conjuring secrets from one realm to another. So tricky.

HLR: How does travel affect your writing? 

Being in motion is such an affective experience for me. I get rich writing done in transitory spaces like airport lounges. These places are exceptional: where everyone and no one is a citizen and nobody quite belongs. This often gets me feeling weepy and creative. I've inked many a thought on an Air Canada cocktail napkin.

HLR: How does your scholarly work affect your writing? 

Academic writing demands evidence to demonstrate claims in a way that literary nonfiction or journalism does not. When I cross over to non-scholarly writing, I know how to weave and spin compelling support for my angles. The challenge for me is going back to writing academically because it isn't as flexible.

HLR: What are you reading these days? 

When not reading for my dissertation, I read my friends, feminist blogs, and the "Comment is free" section of the Guardian. I also flip through the poetry in the New Yorker. In a Queer Time and Place is on my nightstand.

HLR: How does the Internet and your presence on the Internet affect your thinking and writing? 

The Internet has been my best friend, especially because so much feminism lives online. Before I set out to write something, I do keyword searches to find out who is writing what about a given topic, and I carve out my angle from there. It makes me visualize arguments in networks, with my voice at the centre.

HLR: Do you think there is a kind of writing that is popular with your peers? 

My peers are into satire. I haven't experimented with satire much, but I'd like to. When I'm running errands and just doing the things of life, I often write stand-up sketches in my head that satirize the daily grind. It's where my imagination likes to be. Sometimes I pretend Fox News is satire and then it is really brilliant.

Amanda Watson is a doctoral candidate and part-time professor at the Institute of Women’s Studies, University of Ottawa. She is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in such newspapers as the Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, and Vancouver Sun. You can follow her on Twitter @glebetrotter.