Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Eugenia Kim

Welcome to the first-ever Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author answers three questions about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.

Please put your hands together for the marvelous Eugenia Kim, author of The Calligrapher’s Daughter…a gorgeously rich novel, inspired by Eugenia’s mother, “about a young woman who dares to fight for a brighter future in occupied Korea.”

1. Describe your state of writerhead (the where, the when, the how, the what, the internal, the external).

The Muse is as elusive as the mouse who evades the trap beneath the kitchen sink. After months of frustrating silence, she may visit when all others are sleeping and the quiet is dark and solid. I never know she’s there until afterwards, often days later, when I look at the pages she’s graced and see a sentence I can’t remember having put there. I take the credit and think, “Damn, I’m good.” But usually I sleep right through her visit, my cheeks impressed on the keys, saliva cooling on the space bar. I coax her visitations as carefully as the daily fresh smear of peanut butter and cracker wedge balanced on the delicate trap lever. And when the obvious clatters in my sentences, the Muse scampers into her tiny passageways, and I mourn. A dog walk, something wonderful to read, then it’s back to my garret to use all my skills to tempt her return.

2. What happens if someone/something interrupts writerhead? (a spouse, a lover, a barking dog, an electrical outage, a baby’s cry, a phone call, a leg cramp, a dried-up pen, a computer crash, etc.)

If you were to ask her, Ms. Writerhead would say that her occupation is to be interrupted. In fact she believes she was hired for that exact purpose. (For the record, she most certainly was not; I have the contract to prove it.) Though she doesn’t get paid very well and receives no benefits, she is exceedingly good at her job. She excels at being interrupted no matter where she is, and is most effective at her desk (which is why she believes it’s her role). Sometimes she must wait for an interruption, but typically her day is easily filled by mundane distractions and humdrum duties. Her employer (that would be me) agrees that she’s too good at her job, and (keep this secret, please) is getting ready to fire her, again.

3. Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something.



Eugenia Kim is an MFA graduate of Bennington College. She teaches fiction at Fairfield University’s low-residency MFA Creative Writing Program. Her debut novel, The Calligrapher’s Daughter, won the Borders Original Voices Award and is a Best Book of 2009 by The Washington Post.

Eugenia is on Twitter, too. You can find her here.


Readers/Writers/Looky-Loos: Cool, huh? Whatcha think? Similar to your writerhead? Different? Anything surprise you? Make you smile?


6 Responses to Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Eugenia Kim

  1. I so love Eugenia’s mouse/muse metaphor. She is elusive indeed, and I love the imagry of hidden, unknown passages in our own well-known house, and of moving about when we sleep.

    Feels good to know we all share the wonder, and then the longing to tempt her back. I have a feeling, Kristin, that Writerhead Wednesdays are going to become a habit. After all, I’m a looky-loo from way back, and it’s fun to sneak peeks ;-).

    • I know…isn’t her mouse/muse metaphor wonderful? She is such an amazing writer…I couldn’t put down The Calligrapher’s Daughter.

      Glad to hear you’re going to be a regular here on Writerhead Wednesday. Nice to have your voice around.

  2. I like that Ms. Kim brought a little levity to what can often be a frustrating thing. Although Writerhead can be just the push we need to pound out the next great scene or chapter, Writerhead can also be a debilitating distraction.

  3. It’s nice to know that even experienced writers struggle with obtaining and maintaining writerhead. It makes me feel much better about my own struggles with it. Maybe if I could just find out what kind of tea my muse likes, maybe i could entice her to come back more often 😉 Great idea for a series and this is a wonderful post by Ms. Kim.

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