First up for my feature of the Viva Scriva critique group is Melissa Dalton, who has been with this writer’s critique group for as long as I have. Melissa is a freelance writer who has focused on Pacific Northwest design and lifestyle since 2008, when she started out as an Assistant Editor at Portland Spaces (a now-defunct magazine). Since 2012, she has been a regular contributing writer for the design department at 1859: Oregon’s Magazine, where she profiles various aspects of home and commercial design around the state. Other publications include: Curbed, Salon, Portland Spaces, and salt: telling Maine stories, as well as custom publications.
Melissa has an MA in English from Portland State University, and she has studied documentary fieldwork at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and Duke University Center for Documentary Studies. When she’s not focused on her nonfiction work, she’s writing fiction that I am eager for you to see. And you will one day, I’m sure. Here’s a screen shot from her website. Clean, crisp and stylish, no? Melissa’s critiques offer that same attention to detail with both a broader analysis and always a gentle, often playful touch. Here’s what I asked Melissa and she’s answered:
What brings you to writing? Writing is how I make sense of the world around me.
How does writing fit in with the rest of your life? I always feel like I should be writing. My brain is never far from the task whether I am sitting at my computer or not, which can be troublesome when word counts matter and the work isn’t getting done!
What’s the hardest part of writing? Ignoring the parts of my brain that say, “That’s stupid, boring, pointless, no one cares, etc…”
What aspect of Viva Scriva do you find most beneficial? So many! My writing group inspires me to keep going and keep trying. Celebrating and sharing in their successes buoys me. Seeing them persevere through difficulty shows me how it’s done. They make me feel less alone in this pursuit. And, they are all delightful, smart, raucous women who are all wonderful to be around. I laugh a lot with the Scrivas.
If, magically, your Wednesday could be 25 hours long, and you could do anything with that hour, what would it be? Back when I was dating my (now) husband, I noticed that I was excited to go to the grocery store with him (or do any mundane domestic task, really.) So I’d like to spend my extra hour with him. Grocery store optional.