• Staff Spotlight: Resa Alboher

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 1 comment

    Resa Alboher, consultant and coachLast week we introduced you to new writing coach/consultant Tatiana Ryckman. Today we welcome to WriteByNight Resa Alboher, founding editor of St. Petersburg Review and lecturer at the Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia, and at the American Center of the Russian State University for the Humanities.

    Below is a Q&A with Resa, followed by a bio.

    Welcome, Resa, to our staff of wonderful consultants and coaches who help keep WriteByNight running like the smooth, well-oiled writers’ services machine it is.


    How did you get your start as a writer?

    When I was three years old and up until the age where I could write by myself, I dictated stories to my mother, who would kindly and patiently write them down, first in expert shorthand and then translated into her lovely cursive script to accompany my illustrations which mostly were composed of stick figures with faces and shocks of curly hair, a yellow globe with radiating spikes to depict a sun, another green globe on a stick of brown serving as a tree, a square with a triangle that was the house where the stick figure people lived, and where the globe of yellow shined down upon its roof.

    One story, where the house and family got into some desperate trouble, was about a wind about to blow everything down and was creatively entitled “The Wind,” and while I am not entirely sure if I can trust my memory, I think that it is possible the Santa Anas were blowing the day I composed this tale. So at a very young age, I somehow sensed that environment and the effects of dramatic weather upon it could be inspiration for a story and could serve as conflict.

    Much later, I would read Gogol’s description of the Petersburg wind blowing in all directions at once and would think about how the wind can be a kind of surreal commentary on the state of things, but at around the same time I learned about pathetic fallacy and how that was a romantic idea to be heartily rejected, but well, I guess I was a romantic from a very young age, and so pathetic fallacy didn’t bother me at all, and even now, when I should know better, I am of the view, which seems to coincide with both the tenets of post-modern fiction and our most current theories of physics, that nothing, not even the weather itself, can be entirely objective.


    Word association: Literature

    Literature. Lit. Alight. A bird on an autumn branch. So light. Branching out in all directions these words, these birds, these leaves on fire in red and gleaming yellow and gold, behold.


    What is the last book you read and what did you think of it?

    I am working through the translations Archipelago is in the process of bringing out one by one: all six books of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle, and these books thus far are a nearly plotless hyper-nonfiction work of compelling, hypnotic beauty. He writes well and deeply mines his memory and reaches near-Proustian heights. Now I need to finish Proust!


    What is your favorite word and why?

    Poignant. The word itself sounds like life which is so often on the verge of loss and tears and aching beauty all at once when it isn’t on the verge of irony and sarcasm—but those words, irony, sarcasm, aren’t my favorites. I yearn for the poignant and often experience the ridiculous instead. I say the word poignant quite hopefully and overuse it to a fault. This fact has been pointed out to me, quite helpfully, by my friends.


    What is the hardest part of writing for you?

    All of it is hard. The getting myself to sit down with it, sit still with it, trust the process of it, to let the work and its world unfold without interfering and ruining it so much. Difficult to trust, let go and dare I say enjoy, but in those rare moments when I overcome these difficulties of my own mind being an obstacle to the writing unfolding, there is joy, however brief, and then the hope I will one day, if I am to be so lucky, experience that joy again. That hope itself keeps me going.


    Any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

    Let yourself love writing for itself and in and of itself. Love the narratives you want to create, the stories that are burning in you to be told, the rhythms of the sentences, the feel of the words on your tongue, the music of the syllables, love these for their own sake and allow yourself to step out of the way and give the process permission to happen.

    If you are seeking publication, remember the many books that have endured and have gathered the steam to reach us in our time, but in the writer’s time often achieved little recognition. Think of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, how Twain’s fans much preferred the more traditional Tom Sawyer. How no one knew what to make of Melville’s Moby-Dick. How Virginia Woolf’s husband had to start a press so his wife’s books would see the light of day. One of my favorite instances of self-publication. Not to mention Emily Dickinson and her two thousand poems nearly all unpublished in her lifetime. Cervantes was plagiarized—it goes on and on.

    Write for the joy of the narratives themselves, and put it out there of course if you want, but don’t worry about what the market is doing on any given day of the week. Even though it has darker implications of political systems that don’t allow for free expression, I love the Russian/Soviet expression, writing for the drawer. Even though he knew it wouldn’t be published in his country, in his lifetime, Bulgakov wrote The Master and Margarita over many decades and poured all that he had to say about his time into this book. He kept on going with his tale of Master, Margarita, Homeless the poet, Kot Begemot, Pontius Pilate, and the mysterious Woland, and even on Bulgakov’s deathbed, he was making changes in his text, dictating these changes to his wife. He kept at it in his final moments, regardless of whether or not his book, his masterpiece, would make it out of the drawer and into the world. Do it like that.


    Resa Alboher is one of the founding editors of the international literary journal, St. Petersburg Review, has been a lecturer at the legendary Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia, and at the American Center of the Russian State University for the Humanities, has published writing in many places including Blackheart Magazine, Maintenant 5, Have a NYC 2, The Breath of Parted Lips: Voices from the Frost Place, Volume 2, Radar ProductionsEl Portal, Scapegoat Review, DMQ Review and The Edison Review, and is a staff writer for Mango Salute and Rewire Me. A Los Angeles native who has spent the last two decades living, working, traveling, writing and day-dreaming in Russia, she holds an MFA in creative writing from University of Tampa.


    If you like Resa Alboher’s style, express interest in working with her now


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    […] writing coach, Resa, is a blessing to me. She directs me and gives me information that will help my writing process. […]

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