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[Photography] Interview with KJ Hannah Greenberg







[KELP JOURNAL] We have a lot to talk about, so let’s jump right in. I love these photos. They have such a mood about them. I think the best way to describe what I am feeling is by saying that they convey a sense of isolation, a world without people. I have so many questions. Was that intentional? What were you looking for when you took these shots? How did you even get these shots in the first place?


[KJ HANNAH GREENBERG] I am blessed to live in Israel. During vacations, I try to photograph the land’s natural beauty to share it with others. Years ago, a portfolio of my Israeli images was featured on Camel Saloon. Others of my sets of pictures and individual images have appeared in sundry print and electronic publications.


As per the taking the shots, I’m actually very farsighted and have to rely on cropping once I’ve downloaded my “film” to my computer. Additionally, I prefer to take shots during dusk, dawn, and overcast days so that glare does not interfere with my pictures. What’s more, my camera is a simple point-and-shoot.






[KJ] I find it is always interesting to hear what draws people to take pictures. But that made me wonder: do you have a background in photography? How did you come to submitting photos to Kelp?


[KJHG] I’ve been artsy since childhood. A limited number of my paintings have hung in galleries. Also, I’ve dabbled in basket making, glass fusion, hand-built pottery, and assorted forms of two and three-dimensional art.


As an undergraduate, I was required to take a “principles of design” course. I took it during a summer session so that I’d have uninterrupted hours to create my works. The professor taught the fundamentals of light, positive and negative space, balance, color, and so forth. Those lessons proved invaluable to me in many applications. They even caused me to set aside my oil paints for acrylics, colored inks, and watercolors.





[KJ] Google tells me that you are quite the accomplished and multi-faceted artist, writing in many genres in addition to your photography. I always like to ask artists such as yourself, how do you pick forms or projects? Do any of the forms influence each other?


[KJHG] Synergy! My logical positivist husband (and mate since we were 18; we’re currently in our 60s.) never tires of instructing me that I ought to focus on one project at a time. Contrariwise, I multitask, moving among screens on my computer, among cookpots on my stove, and among planters in my garden. This combining of efforts especially shows up in my word-based expressions—something snipped from an essay might find its way into a poem, a short story might grow into a novel, and so on.


Blessedly, I have more ideas for projects and more semi-completed projects than I have time to immediately finish. My ideas often blossom during quiet times such as falling asleep (I used to keep a notepad on my nightstand), showering, or strolling. So, I encapsulate those outliers in old-fashioned or electronic folders and refer to them when possible or as needed.





[KJ] You have a resume most artists would do some very questionable things for: academia, journalism, blogging, fiction, poetry, and nonfiction essays. It seems you really can do it all. So, in my way of thinking, you must have some advice for the rest of us mere mortals.


[KJHG] I’m grateful for each and every one of my prospects. I began being paid for writing (teen columns for two city-wide newspapers) when I was 15. Those publications, in turn, enabled me to enter university at 17. While in school, I composed a musical, for which I wrote the book and lyrics, was produced.


Those early achievements brought me acceptance at a top-tier graduate program (I was waiting for their rejection letter). I enrolled at 20. I studied and later taught rhetoric. It follows that my familiarity with rhetorical theory later empowered me as a parent.


More exactly, I spent a decade and a half away from research. During that span, I usually taught just one night course per semester (I loved interacting with students) to focus on raising my sons and daughters. I additionally studied herbal medicine.


When I was interviewing to return to full-time instruction and to my research agenda, my family had the mazel to move to Israel, to make aliyah. Hubs and I gratefully embraced that fortune.


In other words, life’s a rollercoaster. Whereas I’m not making mention of my major or minor “growth opportunities,” challenges, whether medical, interpersonal, financial, or other, have been at least as much a part of my life as “successes.”


My advice to creatives is as follows:


· Become disciplined—invest regular, long hours in your craft.


· Rewrite, readjust, etc. repeatedly (e.g., maybe edit, as I do, a manuscript two dozen

times) until you’ve polished your efforts to a level that meets or surpasses your

vision.


· Release-you control the assiduousness, not the outcome, i.e., you have no power

over acceptances (or the lack thereof) or over any bridge that experienced might

tender.


· Practice gratitude—be defined by your character traits, not your

products/productivity.






[KJ] With all of your accomplishments, I can’t help but wonder what is next? What genre or form does KJHG have her eye on?


[KJHG] I’m fulfilling book contracts for a poetry and art book, Subrogation, and for a brief fiction collection, an Orbit of Chairs. Thereafter, I hope to have my 4th vol. of a series of essays, Granny Does It, published and to have an omnibus of my poetry collections, Miscellaneous Parlor Tricks, launched. I’m in talks for both of those books.


To boot, I’d appreciate finding a publisher for my new children’s book, Stanley Penguin. The artwork in this book was completed by the very talented Erika Cleveland. Moreover, I’d like to finish my novel about a dachshund and his family, Withersmith’s World (some chapters have already appeared in Winamop.).


In the meantime, I want to give a shoutout to Edden Stories Press for their recent publication of my novel, Upon the Lion and the Serpent, to Fomite Press for their recent publication of my novel, Owmapow Rides Again, and to Seashell Press for their recent publication of my brief fiction collection, Eternal not Ephemeral, and my poetry collection, Communicated Childbirth Options. I created the cover art (both the photos and the digital painting) for three of these four other titles and Erika created the cover art for Owmapow Rides Again,


Thanks for taking the time and making the space to interview me. I’m so glad to have my work included in Kelp Journal!



KJ Hannah Greenberg tilts at social ills and encourages personal evolutions via poetry, prose, and visual art. Her images have appeared as interior art in many places, including Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Kissing Dynamite, Les Femmes Folles, Mused, Piker Press, The Academy of the Heart and Mind, The Front Porch Review, and Yellow Mama and as cover art in many places, including Angime, Black Petals, Door is A Jar Literary Magazine [sic], Impspired [sic], Pithead Chapel, Red Flag Poetry, Right Hand Pointing, Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine, The Broken City, Torah Tidbits, and Yellow Mama. Additionally, some of her digital paintings are featured alongside of her poetry in One-Handed Pianist (Hekate Publishing, 2021).


AM Larks’ writing has appeared in NiftyLit, Scoundrel Time, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, Five on the Fifth, Charge Magazine, and the Zyzzyva and Ploughshares blogs. She has served as a judge for the Loud Krama Productions Emerging Female and Nonbinary Playwriting Award and has performed her stories at Lit Up at Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette, CA. She is the managing editor and blog editor at Kelp Journal. She is the former the former fiction editor at Please See Me, the former blog editor of The Coachella Review, as well as the former photography editor at Kelp Journal. AM Larks earned an MFA in Creative Writing from U.C. Riverside, Palm Desert, a J.D., and B.A. in English Literature.





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