Whether in response to a classroom assignment or in the form of a few lines of verse for a special someone, many of us experiment with poetry at one point or another.
But, let’s be honest, we rarely get past goofy haiku or lines with either questionable rhyme or meter (or both). That’s not the case with Tania Runyan. She’s honest-to-goodness, coffee-drinking, wine-sipping, sarcastic, fiddling queen whose verse has won her awards and invitations to present her work around the country. Her latest volume, What Will Soon Take Place, is a provocative collection of pieces reflecting on the themes she sees in the Book of Revelation.
When did you first realize you were a storyteller?
Believe it or not, it started on a specific day in second grade, when my babysitter (who was actually just a few years older than I) decided to mix things up a bit. She had two posters on her wall, one of a koala and one of some other animal that was cool in the 70s. “Let’s write stories about the animals,” she said, and immediately I was hooked. Inspired by Three’s Company (yes, my parents let me watch it in second grade), I created animal roommates with all manner of goofy interpersonal conflicts. That day, I said I was going to be writer when I grew up. I kept writing and never stopped.
What do you love about the writing process?
I never cease to be amazed by the mystery of it all — how one minute you sit down, and a minute or two (or an hour or week or year) later, a story, character, image, or metaphor that didn’t exist before takes shape.
And it’s hard to imagine life before those words came to be. Yes, it’s sort of like having children in that way, except the creative process is even more mysterious than that of human reproduction. What part of the creative process is intellect, and what part is imagination, imitation, or Spirit? I love that I don’t know.
What is the hardest part of being a writer?
There are so many projects I want to work on and so little time to write them all!
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere, and I mean that truly. However, my poetry tends to draw on a lot of biblical themes and imagery from modern suburban life.
What are you working on right now?
A memoir about growing up in California. A “how-to” book on form poems. Down the road, a book on open adoption co-written with my son’s birth mother. And about a dozen others in the back of my mind!
Find out more about Tania's love for verse, and helping high schoolers compose solid college entrance essays, at her website.
I've been writing stories and taking photos since I was old enough to hold a pencil and stand behind a tripod.