Thursday, May 23, 2019

Carol Es l Interview l Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley

Self-taught artist, writer and musician, Carol Es is known primarily for creating personal narratives within a wide spectrum of media. A native Los Angelina, she often uses past experience as fuel for her subject matter.  Writing on art, her articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Whitehot Magazine, and Coagula Art Journal; her prose published with small presses — Bottle of Smoke Press, Islands Fold, and Chance Press among them. Additionally, she makes handmade Artist’s books which have been acquired for such collections as the Getty and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Carol is a two-time recipient of the ARC Grant from the Durfee Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner, and a Wynn Newhouse Award for her art. She’s also earned grants from Asylum Arts and the National Arts and Disability Center/California Arts Council for writing. In 2019, she won the Bruce Geller Memorial Prize (WORD Grant) from the American Jewish University.

What’s inside the mind of a nonfiction or autobiographical author?

Inside the mind of this particular one is an insect that stings at me and makes sure I’m truthful. But because I am a storyteller first and foremost, I’m always looking for connection while weaving together a compelling narrative. I try to be authentic in the way I tell a story, just as I would in fiction. Art is art though, any way you slice it.

What is so great about being an author?


When do you hate it?

Probably most of the time.

What is a regular writing day like for you?

Twelve hours of sheer torture.

How do you handle negative reviews?

At first, I don’t care. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Then, not very well. But after a while I get over it.

How do you handle positive reviews?

Not very well.

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?

Actually, I don’t tell people very often. If I do, I’m likely to mention my short stories or poems. I find when I talk about the memoir, people don’t think of you as a real author.

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?

If I’m working on something, I’ll write until it’s finished. Then I’ll take a break.

Any writing quirks?

Like? Not sure. I tend to write and rewrite to an obsessive extreme. It’s a bit sickening.

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?

I feel like that’s the case a lot of the time. Some people do see me as a writer and those are enriching relationships. Many other people don’t see me that way, and most often I don’t either, and I suppose it makes me sad. However, I can’t do anything about it. I think I can just keep trying to write better, but is it to satisfy them, or me? I have to ask myself that sometimes.

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?


Do you think success as an author must be linked to money?

No. Not for me anyway, and not unless that was your motivation to write in the first place. I can’t really say there are right and wrong reasons to write. Success means different things to different people. But I definitely don’t think happiness is linked to money.

What has writing taught you?

That I’m most likely delusional.

Leave us with some words of wisdom.

Be open to advice, but don’t let anyone push you off track.

About the Book:

Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is a guided tour through a Tilt-A-Whirl life that takes so many
turns that you may find yourself looking up from the pages and wondering how the hell one person managed to fit them all into 40-odd years. And many of them are odd years indeed. From a rootless, abusive childhood and mental illness through serious and successful careers in music and art, much of which were achieved while being involved in a notoriously destructive mind-control cult. Carol Es presents her story straight up. No padding, no parachute, no dancing around the hard stuff. Through the darkness, she somehow finds a glimmer of light by looking the big bad wolf straight in the eye, and it is liberating. When you dare to deal with truth, you are free. Free to find the humor that is just underneath everything and the joy that comes with taking the bumpy ride.

Illustrated with original sketches throughout, Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is not just another survivor's tale, it’s a creative perspective through moments of vulnerability where the most raw and intimate revelations are laid bare. As an artist and a woman finding self-worth, it’s truly a courageous, relatable story that will keep you engaged to the very end.



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