Whiskey Blue

blue2Interviewed by Becca Clarkson

Whiskey Blue is the author of Brooklyn Love, a collection of literary erotica or ‘fine lesbian smut.’ She is also a contributor to Psychology Today, advice columnist extraordinaire for Everyone is Gay, and has published with The Huffington Post, The Atlantic, AfterEllen, Curve Magazine, Bitch, and more. You can follow her at @topshelferotica.

Whiskey reached out to me two years ago when my older sister, her close friend, told her that I’d been accepted into UBC’s Creative Writing Program. Her genuine interest, sincere advice, and impressive range of publications stuck with me and made her an obvious choice to interview, years later. Luckily, the Brooklyn-based writer moved back to Vancouver in 2014, and we were able to meet for coffee at Turks on Commercial Drive. It should also be noted that Whiskey is a very savvy dresser, and took the time to discuss our mutual love of the television series Broad City once the interview was done.

I’ve been struggling how to word this question so that it doesn’t sound like I’m encouraging kids to do drugs and not prioritize school. In your article “Coming Out in Psychology Today, you describe your adolescence as hard—not because you’re a lesbian, but because being an adolescent sucks for everyone. You also describe experimenting with ketamine and frequenting raves at that time. After high school though, you went on to work in a law office and wear power suits, and now you’re a successful writer who people seek advice from in columns! I guess I was hoping to hear your take on the anxiety many students feel about not being successful enough, or the best in their program, sleeping in, drinking too much, etc. Do you that your lack of focus on a specific career, perfect resume and cover letter, etc., affected how you became the writer you are today?

When I was in high school I was a really bad kid. I was doing bad things: drugs, dropping out of school—it took me a very long time to get my high school diploma. I was always feeling like a little bit of an outlaw. By my late teens and early twenties I was so off the grid that I wasn’t really worried or thinking about getting a degree and going down a certain path to get a certain job. I’m not saying it’s a good thing to exist in these parameters but it was definitely my reality. When I did go back to school, I never felt like taking creative writing would make me a writer, I just wanted to go to school instead of bartending and working so many jobs, and have X amount of hours a week for writing. School allowed me to spend X hours in class, surrounded by peers who are also thinking about writing, and be with mentors and teachers who know more about writing than me. I felt like that would create inspiration and opportunity but I never really saw university as a track to a career in the way one might if they’re taking engineering. A part of what makes writing so difficult and annoying is that there isn’t really this straight line or path. I think that a lot of the writers that I’m interested in didn’t take a very straight path either though. To feel on the outside is a pretty valuable and, I think, very typical experience for a writer. To feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, or feeling bad for sleeping in or not doing enough, that’s part of the experience. It’s good for a writer to be a little bit of a fuck up. [Read more…]