An Interview with Caitlin Plante

Salt Water—featured in the 2018 issue of From the Depths—is a favorite among the HWP staff. We would love to learn a little bit more about the author. Tell us about yourself.
I'm from Texas, but I've lived in Denver, Colorado for 7 years now. I work as a tutor and a creative writing teacher. My favorite things are pastries, reading, writing, shopping, hiking, and skiing.

What was the inspiration behind this piece?
This was inspired by an actual hole that my father and I put into the floor of our Cape Cod house. It is also inspired by the constant worry about the house on Cape Cod. There is always this methodical way of talking about the house and the things wrong with it. The list seems never-ending and everyone seems quite annoyed about it, especially my aunt. But I also think there’s a comfort in having to care for something constantly. It gives us something to do.

What fuels your writing? Where do you typically find your ideas and inspiration?
I find a lot of inspiration from the traditional things: books, movies, art. But I also take a lot from my own life and my daily experiences. I try to inhale everything I see and constantly take notes. Just today I saw a ball of lint roll across the counter like it was alive. I thought it was interesting, so I wrote it down.

What is your writing day like? Is there a particular environment that stimulates your creativity? Do you have nay writing routines or rituals that you practice?
I write mostly from home at my desk, but there is this one coffee shop I love Devil’s Food in Denver. The coffee is delicious. The pastries are Paris quality. On nice days they open the tall window doors and it has this low rumble of conversation that is stimulating. My most steadfast ritual is that I write everything first by hand very quickly without thinking too hard. I am a big believer that thinking too hard and letting that inner critic take over ruins your connection with creativity and the muse. The computer screen can also filter that connection, so I am a big believer in notebooks.

Be discerning in whose advice and criticism you take regarding your writing. It's your art.

—Caitlin Plante

What is your writing kryptonite?
My own insecurity. If I think it will be terrible, it will be.

How long have you been writing? Was there a defining moment that led you down this path or a person who encouraged or helped shape you as a writer?
I wrote as a little kid, fantasy stories mostly, but I didn’t do much besides journaling in high school. Then I worked and lived on Cape Cod for a few summers. I found the experience of living on Cape Cod so drastically different from the vacation Cape Cod I had grown up with. It was shocking to me. It was the first time I really saw the extent of my ignorance and blindness to the world. Those summers were some of the most formative of my life. I just couldn’t keep it in, so I started writing about it and I decided to add a concentration of creative writing to my English major. When I graduated I wasn’t sure what to do with my life, but I found myself unable to give up the dream of being a writer, and then I read The Alchemist. I saw the things that were pushing me towards the life of a writer, so I decided to go for it.


Are there any authors who have influenced your writing?
Some of my very favorites are Colette, Kathy Acker, Marilynne Robinson, Ruth Ozeki, Haruki Murakami, Claire Louise Bennett, Helen Oyeyemi, Jonathan Allen Lethem, Samantha Chang, Shelley Jackson, Sheila Heti, Lydia Davis, Kazuo Ishiguro, Elizabeth McCracken, Louise Erdrich, Jeanette Winterson, Marie Redonnet, Donna Tartt, Italo Calvino, Joe Wenderoth, Steinbeck, Han Yujoo, Annie Dillard, Alice Munro, and Kent Haruf.

What are you reading right now?
Laird Hunt's The Impossibly

What other forms and genres do you enjoy writing?
I am currently writing a novel and I love short story as well. I’m also enraptured with writing poetry, although I can’t judge my poetry at all. I love hybrid and genre mixing and have been really interested in incorporating myth and fairytale to my writing for a few years.

Of your other published works, do you have a personal favorite you would like to share with our readers? Where can we find it?
This is actually the first time I have ever been published! Thank you so much!

What’s next? Do you have any writing projects on the horizon?
I am currently working on my novel, The Water on the Windows. This flash fiction piece is an excerpt so if you enjoy it, definitely be on the lookout for the novel! I will be heading to two residencies in the winter to continue to work on it.

What words do you live by? Do you have a personal motto?
Create a beautiful life.

If you could share any advice for aspiring writers, what would it be?
1. Try to write almost every day, even when you don’t feel like it. There’s no such thing as writer’s block. It’s all in there.
2. Be discerning in whose advice and criticism you take regarding your writing. It's your art.

About the Author

Caitlin Plante is a writer, creative writing teacher, and tutor living in Denver. She graduated from the University of Denver’s Creative Writing program with distinction in 2015 and recently she attended the Paris Writers Workshop and graduated from the Lighthouse Writers Book Project. This flash fiction piece is an excerpt from her novel in progress, The Water on the Windows, which she will continue to work on during her upcoming residencies in Arkansas and Cape Cod.

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