We had the good fortune of connecting with Liza Sparks and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Liza, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I’m still in the process of transforming my writing into a career. I would like to be able to support myself financially through my writing—that’s a goal I’m working towards. Like the majority of writers, I’m not pursing a writing career for the money. I’m interested in storytelling as an art form. I’m interested in what storytelling can do to move people—to shift consciousness. I’m interested in storytelling as truth telling—even in the realm of the magical, the surreal. In some ways, it feels like magic. Words have power. I realized this was when I was really young. I was raised ultra-religious—I was fed a lot of bigoted and ignorant ideas. Reading helped me escape that. Reading helped me feel less alone in my journey as a brown, multiracial/multiethnic, pansexual woman. For me, writing feels like a necessity. Reading fiction, nonfiction, and poetry helps me stretch my empathy muscles. The simple answer, I love writing, I love storytelling, and I love the people who do it.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m very much in this writing journey. I don’t feel like I’ve “arrived.” I don’t know if there is such a thing. My goal for the year is 100 rejections (inspired by a Lithub article, “Why you Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year,” by Kim Liao). I’ve received eighteen rejections so far. I have a long way to go. Every rejection is difficult. I go back, I look at the work. Is it the writing? Or was it just not a good fit? I make adjustments. I add the rejection to my armor, it’s a part of my protection spell. I think about writers I admire. I think about Toni Morrison and the criticism she received. It had absolutely nothing to do with the quality of her writing. You can’t let it get you down. You have to believe in the work. You have to love it. Here’s a quote, “Love poems more than publishing. Love poems,” Analicia Sotelo. Here’s another one, “Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether your inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice,” Octavia Butler. And one more, “(1) Don’t act like your shit don’t stink (2) You deserve to be published and/or to perform (3) Make your own writing spaces (follow the poets you love and see where they teach, workshop, read, and perform (4) Make your art your habit,” Kay Ulanday Barrett in an interview with Bitch Magazine.

Every publication is a gift. Every time someone reads my work I am so, so grateful. It is an incredible gift of time.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Denver Botanic Gardens, Mutiny Information Cafe, Mercury Cafe, Trident Booksellers and Cafe, Boulder Book Store, Valley View Hot Springs, Blue Lakes Trail.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shoutout Aerik Francis, Nicole Ryan Marquez, Renée Marino, and Virginia Harris—fellow writers, poets, creatives. Thank you for writing with me, geeking out on all things poetry/writing, reading my work, and sharing your work! It is so good to be in community with you.

I also want to shoutout my partner Nicholas Bonney, who continues to support my writing and is my first reader for many of my stories and poems (when they are full of holes, are cold, and drafty). Thank you! I love you.

Website: https://www.lizasparks.com

Instagram: @sparksliza534

Twitter: @lizathepoet

Other: Liza Sparks on Soundcloud

Image Credits
Olli Lusk Nick Velharticky

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