with Kaye Nash:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Kaye: I don’t remember when I first started writing, but I know it was early. My first writing exists more in anecdote than in actual memory, the way we may seem to remember a 3rd birthday party, a crashed bike or a funny moment because older people tell the story so often. I have been told by my aunt that once at the age of 6, surrounded by some deeply dull adult conversation, I was spotted intently scribbling on a piece of my uncles office stationery. When she apprehended me, I had been making a satirical comic about my relatives and what I perceived as the inane nature of their conversation. My aunt swears she has saved this comic someplace, and often tells me about it, wiping tears of laughter from her eyes. I suppose this means my early influences were the people around me, even if their influence didn’t impress me. As I got older, there were copycat stories trying to steal some of the appeal of various children’s authors, and somewhere out there I have half-manuscripts that are blatant rip-offs of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Chronicles of Narnia, and what I imagined at the time to be a very cutting “response” to Twilight, among others.
Q2: Who are some of your biggest influences today?
Kaye: I couldn’t name a number one influence today, but I know a great poet when upon reading their work I immediately want to get writing, myself. Some writers who have affected me this way recently are Ross Gay, Dina Del Bucchia, Chen Chen, Jihyun Yun and Emily Davidson. I find a lot of inspiration in fiction, too, as well as in other art forms like film and television, and of course, still in unexpected places all around. Sometimes tracing the root of an idea isn’t even possible, but I’m thankful when they come sneaking mysteriously into my life.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Did any travels away from home inspire you to write?
Kaye: I grew up on Vancouver Island as a settler on the unceded and traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw, Snaw-naw-as and Stz’uminus First Nations. It is impossible to stay for long on this land and not find yourself deeply moved and changed by its power and its beauty. I could not be the person I am now, nor could I write what I do, without the Pacific Ocean always a pace away, without the Coastal Mountains constantly in view, and without the forests which are so ever-present here and yet so constantly threatened. Travelling has also deeply influenced the way I think about home, space and belonging, and I didn’t start to write seriously until I was living in Taiwan, but the seeds of whatever I was writing were already planted at home. During the pandemic, when everyone has been staying closer to home and our worlds feel like they’re shrinking, there was plenty of time to reflect on the matters closest to hand and to look with new eyes on this land that has been stolen from its rightful inhabitants and misused, abused and taken for granted by the genocide state that calls itself Canada. It will be impossible in the future for me to write about this land without being aware both of the history of colonization on this land and of the responsibility that I and other settlers have to be accountable for the past, respectful in the present and to do what it takes to support Indigenous land and water defenders in the future. This land is worth protecting, and that will take all of our voices and all of our efforts. Number 92 of the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission demands that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples be implemented and respected by the corporate sector in Canada, and time and time again this demand has been violated, Indigenous peoples have been disrespected and corporate interest and the Canadian government continue to damage and exploit the land. Indigenous land and water protectors need support. A good place to begin providing it is to head to http://raventrust.com and find out about the ways you can help Indigenous activists seek justice, protect their rights, and advocate for the land they have lived on since time immemorial.
Q4: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?
Kaye: I couldn’t answer this question. It always feels like the most meaningful work is the work that has yet to be done.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Kaye: As I said above, there was never really a moment when I decided I wanted to write. It’s always been here.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Kaye: When I’m not writing, I tend to be reading, but lately I’ve been turning more and more to the water and to swimming. Getting out of the mind and into the body brings consciousness to a newer, slower, more elemental level, and feeling my body suspended in space allows me to feel a sense of expansiveness and calm.
Q7: Who has helped you most with writing?
Kaye: I have often been shy to share my writing with others, but my best friend is an artist and a poet and we have often shared work and collaborated on little projects here and there. Having someone to talk to about poetry, writing and art always helps the process to feel more real, and to make the product feel more meaningful. https://raventrust.com/