An interview with Vanessa Place during the &Now Festival
RAG: What does your physical work space look like?
Vanessa: The primary place where I work is a small office. It’s painted a very dark, almost black, green. There’s two computer monitors. Many books and a very small-ish, overstuffed, gold-colored couch, and a red chair that I sit in. And a lot of papers. But I think the primary thing about it is that it’s very dark. For me, the more I can narrow my field of vision, the better.
RAG: Which themes do you prefer to write and why do you feel it’s important to address them?
Vanessa: I think the question would be: are themes important? If so, what themes are important to you, and how can you write about them without ever mentioning them? Once you figure that out, because those are the themes that are important, not just in your writing, but in your existence, and the more you can work around them without touching them directly as if they’re some great sleeping creatures, some sort of predatory entity that you have to live with, so you don’t actually want to provoke them, but they’re always present, so the more one can decide what those are, because what mine are, are of interest to me, but by in and of themselves, there’s only a fistful of themes that we all have, in and of themselves, they’re not terribly interesting, but what you do with them becomes interesting. So, rather than me saying what mine are, I think the question should become for people to say, “What are my themes? What are my motifs?” If you look at everybody’s writing, or their art practice, as if they’re telling you their dream, which is far more interesting than them actually telling you their dream, then you can sort of see the themes that they’re exploring, and then look at your own practice the same way.