Nicole Marie Schreiber describes herself as a “word artist” from Portland, Oregon, and the phrase couldn’t be more apt. Nicole has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and writes picture books, fiction for children and adults, poetry, and plays. Other pursuits include spreading her love of the written word to all, performance art, dance, history, and travel. She has had two living history plays performed every year for the last nine years with the West Linn Historical Society; she’s written and produced numerous variety shows in the Portland area; and she’s written commissioned works for other performance artists. But wait, there’s more. Nicole has been published in the Powell’s Books Small Press Bestseller, Brave on the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life, and she has worked as a newspaper copywriter and freelance editor.
And, speaking of Viva Scriva, here’s our Q&A.
What brings you to writing? Stories have always been my solace, and I fell in love with the romantic notion of being a writer after reading Little Women in elementary school and watching Lois Lane in the film, “Superman”. One of my favorite pastimes was going to work with my dad for the day and typing on his typewriter. I would make my own newspapers and hand them out to family members and friends. I would write stories in spiral notebooks that I wouldn’t show to anyone. I would keep diaries on and off. No matter what I did in life, I always ended up going back to writing. It’s an itch I can’t scratch away.
What’s the hardest part about writing? The hardest part about writing IS writing. It’s getting my butt in the chair to write. Then, once I do, I more often than not get into the “flow” of writing, which is one of my all time favorite feelings, when time stands still and hours go by like seconds.
What aspect of Viva Scriva do you find most beneficial? Viva Scriva has been my rock for many, many years regarding my writing and creative life. They are part critique partners, accountability group, cheerleaders, support system, mentors, allies, muses, advocates, writing sisters, and friends all in one. They are a significant part of my writing life.
What pulls you away from writing? All aspects of life pull me away from writing, which is something I deal with on a daily basis. I am the mother of two sons, ages eight and eleven, and their schedules definitely impact my writing life. I am also a performance artist on the side, and though it fulfills many parts of me creatively, it doesn’t satisfy my need to write the stories I need to tell. After teaching elementary and preschool for sixteen years, I have finally this year taken time off to write. It is a scary endeavor, but I feel the time is now or never.
Where does creativity come from and can it be nurtured? As I watch my two sons grow up, I truly believe creativity can be cultivated and nurtured. But I also feel there is a nature component as well, as can be seen by artists who were not nurtured by their families growing up, and still became creative individuals despite their upbringings. I was not nurtured creatively as a child and instead was taught that art isn’t important and doesn’t pay the bills. It didn’t seem to stop me at all. I absolutely live an artist’s life now without any support from my parents. Also, after teaching preschool for six years, I feel that ALL children are artists and are born that way. It is after years and years of taking the importance of art away from young people’s lives that adults find their creative selves lacking. We are all artists inside. Adults can be nurtured back to their creative selves, if only they nurture that side of themselves back to health again.