5 Question Interview Series with Katherine Turner

Katherine Turner is the author of Dating God, which is a blog that focuses on her journey throughout the cosmos. Her style of writing is configuring life-as-a-jigsaw-puzzle fitting it all together with dancing words. She has recently just completed her first novel, appropriately titled “Dating God”. Katherine graciously agreed to take part in my ongoing “5 Question Interview Series”.

Please tell me about your novel. Is it autobiographical in nature, fiction, spiritual or all of the above?

It's called Dating God of course :) I don't yet have a groove to offer up as a synopsis, so instead I give you some adjectives/images: psychic bartender meets hero cop; downwardly/inwardly mobile; high quality cigarettes and double cappuccinos; human love versus true love; sexual healing; urban dwelling versus ecovillage; holy moments in unlikely spaces; tequila; angels cleverly disguised as buttheads; the soulmate machinery; saving your own life.

It's fiction, and it's spiritual. It's also rowdy and funky. It's not autobiographical, but it contains things that I'm intimate with. For example, I tended bar in NYC and dated cops. I went through a rough patch understanding how to manage my psychic abilities. I was a hottie who got hit on a lot, and used it like ecstatic currency. I drank lots of tequila and coffee, smoked a lot of cigarettes. People that knew me from that time will recognize elements of reality, but the story is all in my head/heart.

Will your blog readers of the past 5 years (congratulations on that) get a sneak peak before publication?

I'm trying to figure out the best way to do this. My instincts say to offer it up to DG readers, let them read it before it goes anywhere. But this also makes me nervous (as you probably know from being a blogger yourself) as some blog readers have "orifice ripper" as their undeclared (and largely unconscious) but righteously pursued avocation. So, I'm more inclined to just send it to the few dozen folks who comment a lot and are warm-hearted and will be supportive, even if they pass on constructive criticism (which I hope they do). But who knows? Maybe I'll just toss the whole shebang wide open and let folks have at it :) (Most likely I'll open it up in ever-widening circles . . .)

What inspires you? How do you stay motivated?

I think I have a sort of "perspective" OCD that expresses itself verbally. I'll go through an experience or witness something, and I become obsessed with telling it in a way that captures the emotional light I saw it in. And it has to be done first person. I've tried other narratives and it loses its fire.

I remember someone telling me that you can't "want" to be a writer. You either write or you don't. I totally agree with that. I'm motivated to write like I'm motivated to eat. I love food and I eat to stay alive. I love words and I write to stay alive. This is not a metaphor.

I've been writing since I was seven or eight and have never stopped. I'm obsessed with words and concepts, heightened states of being and wild wooly metaphors, verbal symbols that stand for huge swaths of organic experience and the power of raw unflinching honesty. I love that I can take an experience, perspective, that lives inside of me, animates me, and with the right combo of words, transfer that experience into you. It's like making love. Telepathically :)

Your life seems to be a voyage that is perfectly expressed by blogging: Do we know the real you or do you keep a private life that is not told to your readers?

I think folks are always a little disappointed to meet me. I'm actually pretty quiet in person, withdrawn. I don't like to be seen. All of which is the exact opposite of what I'm like on the blog. Plus, I have a hard time with most folk's energy, and tend to be avoidant, which people tend to take personally :) I also think that it appears that I love to dwell on Problems, love to Vent and Be Vented Upon, when in fact this is my idea of Fiery, Burning Hell, Live and On Location. IRL, I prefer to just live and leave the gumflapping exchange for others to exercise. (Although I seem to have an almost bottomless well of listening for the handful of people I love, the people who I get truly love me.)

The only parts I withhold from the blog are info about other people that would hurt them or freak them out to see made public, and negative spew that would add to the Pointless Bullshit of the world. (although I have been very guilty of posting both)

How did writing a book that you knew would be read so closely by your blog audience compare with writing the blog?

I actually didn't write this book with anyone in mind. I just wrote it because it was burning a hole in my brain and heart. And I wrote the first draft 10 years ago, way before I even knew what a blog was.

The latest draft (that I finished last month) was actually written with a credo (written with a purple and green sharpie and scotch taped to the wall in front of my desk) that reads: "DatingGod: 1. Show Up 2. Write It From Now 3. Make Art, Tell Your Story". I had gotten so incredibly stuck that I knew that rewriting was pointless. I hated the book, knew it was shite, but felt powerless to fix it, even as I could feel this shining truth radiating out of it, haunting me and taunting me and telling me that it was going to f*ck my sh*t up for the rest of my life if I didn't get at it.

I finally grew the ovaries to do a shamanic journey around it, and I met with an editor in shamanic reality who told me how to finish the book. He was this sweet, funny man, and he told me that I needed to put myself in front of my computer, to have the courage to show up. And then I needed to stop trying to write from who I was, who I used to be ten years ago when that first draft was completed, and instead have the courage to write from where I am, who I am Now. It was outrageously scary. And like performing a million amputations. But incredibly liberating. The book actually turned into something that didn't make me feel like vomiting from embarrassment every time I thought of how many people I'd let read it over the past decade. (I still cringe. I'm cringing even right now :) And of course, now this latest draft makes me gag too, which means that it still needs another draft. And on and on and on . . .

I can't wait to finish it. I can't wait to let you read it :)