weird words with Georgene Smith Goodin

You’ve had a few stories appear with us, including “Spoils of War” in our AUGHT/NAUGHT issue. Can you tell us a little bit about your inspiration for the piece, and how you feel like you’ve grown as a writer since having it published? 

Every one of my fiction pieces starts as a kernel of truth from my real life. My husband and I met just a few weeks before 9/11. This piece evolved from my wondering what our lives would have been like if the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq had been fought on our home turf as opposed to abroad.

In terms of how I’ve grown as a writer since then, I think the biggest difference is that I no longer feel the need to hide behind fiction. I put our entire lives on view in a series of essays I did for the Washington Post about being foster parents. That isn’t something I would have been comfortable with in my earlier days as a writer.

What advice would you as a writer now, give you as a writer then?

Just do it. You’re better than you think you are and there are people, even if it’s just a few, who want to hear what you have to say.

What time of day do you do most of your writing? Describe your writing rituals and your creative space.

I’m not a morning person, so pretty much any time I can find to work other than that! I tend to just write on my couch, pictured here. My actual desk is in the photo as well, but it’s too covered in bills to be used as a creative space!

I work from home for my “real” job four days a week so this is where I do that work as well. Posted on the bookcase behind the couch is a portrait of me as done by my oldest foster child and I’m also attaching a close-up of it. She asked me to post it in my office, so I thought she meant by the couch. LOL. Later I found out she wanted me to post it in the conference room at my client’s, where she had gone to meetings with me in a pinch.

Are there repetitive themes within your writing? Where do you draw inspiration for these themes, and how do you find yourself drawn to them?

I tend to gravitate towards complicated interpersonal relationships, especially with mothers and children. Part of that is because my Mom was a single parent long before that term became common and partly because of the complications that arise from being a foster mom.

Our goal is to publish absurdly unclassifiable literature. Do you have a favourite piece of writing that goes against the grain? 

Oh, that’s tough. There are so many great pieces out there and so many of them are by women I consider friends that to pick just one would be hard. If I had to pick it would be Ani King’s “Music Our Mothers Made.”  It hits all my buttons on motherhood and heavy metal and irresponsibility outside of a conventional story format and captures a very specific moment of my youth in such a way that I feel like she was in the back seat of the car spying.

What pieces and/or projects are you currently working on? 

I’m working on a novel that’s a period piece. It’s a bit different from what I have done for Pidgeonholes, but I think it’s something Pidgeonholes readers would still enjoy. It’s a bit frustrating working in such a long form because I like the instant gratification of publishing a short story, especially flash. So it still remains to be seen if I can stick it out and finish…

Georgene Smith Goodin’s work has appeared in numerous publications, and has won the Mash Stories flash fiction competition. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the cartoonist Robert Goodin. When not writing, she is restoring a 1909 Craftsman bungalow with obsessive attention to historic detail. Visit her blog or follow her on Twitter, @gsmithgoodin.

Georgene’s husband, Robert, calls her “Pig,” and she appears in this author pic, as well as in his graphic novel, as a pig, too. His next graphic novel is being serialized through Fantagraphics