Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author talks 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.
About Cher Fischer’s debut novel Falling Into Green, the Huffington Post says, “[Falling Into Green] is an eco-mystery set at a fast pace, punched through with staccato sentences, twisting plot, shifting landscape, and a mighty heroine for the 21st century.”
Now listen to what author Cher Fischer has to say about her writerhead.
Remember…no talking! And pay close attention. There just may be a quiz at the end.
1. Describe your state of writerhead (the where, the when, the how, the what, the internal, the external).
Writerhead is the “river” for me. I see it as a river. I always have the choice to jump in, or not. When I first started visualizing a river, it used to scare me a bit. I’d see myself stand next to the clear, rushing water, then tentatively stick a toe in, knowing that if I actually took the plunge and jumped, something in my life would change, because the river would carry me away to who knows where? So I’d hesitate. And in that moment of hesitation, the river itself would be gone. I actually hesitated for years, while still trying to write. But the text that I wrote would be stilted, jumbled, forced—no flow. No river current. Needless to say, my first work(s) were not good. I was rejected more than a few times, because the river that needs to carry both the writer and the reader’s imagination away—just wasn’t there. I distinctly remember when I finally allowed myself to jump into the river. It was in grad school for psychology, writing my master’s thesis on a subject very close to me—the peaceful behaviors of the bonobo chimpanzee—and I wanted the thesis to really resonate on a visceral level for people because the bonobo is on the verge of extinction, so I had to let my fear go and jump into that river! I walked up to the rushing water, threw myself in, and let my mind run with the waves and ripple over rocks and lay smooth in placid pools. I was told later that my thesis was able to carry a few other minds forth with the thought of protecting the bonobo. So that was my first experience of writerhead: the powerful current in the river. Now, I enjoy riding the waves, jump in every chance I get, which could be an apt lead-in for the next question…
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.)
Sometimes, my husband thinks I’m drowning in the river. Not literally, of course—but definitely figuratively. He casts out lifelines to me: a sandwich, coffee, or a question about a bill. I say, “Can’t the bill wait until later?” He’ll smile, knowing I’m still alive, swimmingly so. My two dogs, however, aren’t concerned for my safety; they’re simply annoyed that I’m writing at all since they feel if I’m out of bed, I should be walking them—even if I’ve just taken them for a four-mile hike! They make sure to create a big doggie show right next to my writing chair, they wrestle and roll, their athletic tumbles shaking the house, and I’m convinced that if they could, they would holler, “We want attention!” I figure that’s also what my husband wants, especially when he queries about the bill. My son, on the other hand, who’s nine and has the right to clamor for attention, likes to write himself, so while I write, he writes, lost in his own writerhead. One day, I’ll ask him what writerhead means to him. But for now, I don’t interfere with the process.
3. Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something.
For me, writerhead is like being a salmon on a salmon run except I never feel as if I’m swimming upstream.
BIO: Cher Fischer is an ecopsychologist who received her doctorate in clinical psychology in 2004. She was a professor of psychology at Ryokan College in Los Angeles and has worked with at-risk families and children as well as practiced health psychology in several hospitals.
She is the author, with Heather Waite, of Moving from Fear to Courage: Transcendent Moments of Change in the Lives of Women (Wildcat Canyon Press, 2001), which was a Los Angeles Times bestseller.
Born near a Superfund site in Spokane, Washington, and raised amid the lush nature of Minnesota, Fischer has long been involved in environmental issues and is passionate about the green movement in the United States. She is currently the head of the Green Team at her son’s elementary school, which is implementing sustainable strategies in the classrooms and throughout the campus. Falling Into Green is her first novel.