"Everyone is a writer. I sincerely believe this. If you think, you’re a writer. If you daydream, you’re a writer."
Tuesday, June 27, 2023
tricia park headshot

This summer the Writing University is interviewing faculty and workshop instructors who are in town to teach at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. We ask about their ideal place to write, their writing routine, their book suggestions and more! Today we are speaking with Tricia Park.

Tricia Park will be leading a workshop entitled “Breaking Up with Form: Experimental Essays” at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival from July 9-14. Tricia is not only a writer and educator, but also a concert violinist. Some of her many roles include the Associate Director of Cleaver Magazine Workshops, host and producer of the podcast "Is it Recess Yet? Confessions of a Former Child Prodigy," and the Founding Artistic Director of the MusicIC Festival. She answered five questions about her favorite writing tools, goals for her Festival workshop participants, and ideal place to write. Registration for Tricia’s workshop is still open, so sign up before it is too late! 


Q: Describe your ideal place to write.

A: As a traveling musician, my life is more nomadic than I’d like so I can’t pinpoint an ideal place, but I’ve always needed silence. Music tends to draw my attention away from the task at hand. If I’m editing or doing research, however, I love nature sounds; my favorite is a mix of sea waves and wind chimes. Oh, and lately, I’m especially blissful if my cat, Jigsaw, sits next to me (as he is doing right now). I rescued him from a freak ice storm during a writer’s residency in Texas.


Q: What story, poem, essay, etc., blew open your understanding of what a story, poem, essay, etc. could do/be?

A: Jenny Boully’s “The Body,” an essay written in footnotes to an invisible text. I also love Carmen Maria Machado’s memoir, IN THE DREAMHOUSE, especially the Choose Your Own Adventure chapter. Both of these I plan to teach in my upcoming class.


Q. What’s your favorite notebook?

A. Decomposition Notebooks by Michael Roger. Eco-conscious, perfect line width, and fun designs.


Q: What’s your favorite pen?

A: Pilot G-Knock, 0.7. But I often covet pens I encounter in the world, in restaurants, bars, shops. I guess I struggle with pen envy, ha.


Q: What do you hope your students will take away from your teaching?

A: One of my favorite writers, Megan Stielstra, teaches that, “writing is not just scribbling words on a page.” Everyone is a writer. I sincerely believe this. If you think, you’re a writer. If you daydream, you’re a writer. If you garden, walk, hike, swim, muse, fantasize, etc. etc. etc., you’re a writer. That’s why I’m excited to teach this class on experimental essaying. Playing with form and structure can break open our stories, and hopefully, move our attention away from ourselves and more towards craft. Ideally, writing can be fun, like playing a game.



Thank you Tricia!