Interviews, Kathy fish

A First Retreat in a Treasured Oasis: Myna Chang on Returning to Colorado to Write & More

Nancy and I are so happy that writer Myna Chang is signed up to participate in our return retreat at Shadowcliff Lodge in Grand Lake, Colorado this summer. Myna generously agreed to chat with me about her background, the writing life, and more.

 

Hi Myna! What does the “west” evoke for you? The mountains? Colorado? As a writer and person…(weird question, I know!)

I grew up in a windy, barren farm town in Oklahoma. My childhood memories revolve around wiping grit out of my eyes and finding places to hide from the scorching sun. But every summer, my grandparents would take me to an oasis in the Colorado mountains. It was an old cabin hidden in a lush green valley. The river forked just above our land, so I had my choice of two trickling streams to play in. I thought it was the greatest place on the planet, and I was heartbroken when my grandparents sold it. In my mind, “going to Colorado” means returning to that perfect setting.

Oh what a lovely memory! I’m so glad you’re getting the chance to return to Colorado! What are you most looking forward to in our upcoming retreat? 

I’ve never been to a retreat. I can’t wait. I crave quiet, and time to focus on writing, without distractions or guilt. Sharing that space with other dedicated writers and workshop leaders will be like frosting on the cake — and I love frosted cake.

What sparks your creativity? 

I have no idea what sparks my creativity, but I know what kills it: interruptions:

“Mom, I’m hungry.”

“Honey, where did I leave the screwdriver?”

“Bark, bark bark!”

I wouldn’t trade my family for anything, but sometimes I wish they could be quiet for an hour or two.

Ha, yes, I can relate to that! Anything strange, funny, weird, fascinating about you that you care to share?

I have weird dreams. My sleep cycle never returned to normal after pregnancy, so now when I wake up, I remember every bizarre detail. Sometimes sentient Cheetos come to visit, or brilliant mice sculpt tiny Greek-style temples in my desk drawer. I often water-ski through the neighborhood with my friend T-Rex, and occasionally we drink lemonade with our zombie buddies on the corner. I realize I probably shouldn’t admit this in public.

I love these dreams! I’m actually fascinated with dreams and think they make great fodder for writing. Thanks so much for taking the time, Myna. We’re excited to work (and play) with you in Grand Lake this summer!

Myna Chang writes flash and short stories. Her work has been featured in Writers Resist, Reflex Fiction, and Daily Science Fiction, and is forthcoming in the Grace & Gravity anthology Furious Gravity IX. She lives in Maryland with her family. Read more at MynaChang.com or @MynaChang.  

(Interested in joining us for our High Altitude Inspiration in the Great American West retreat? Registrations are open now. We’d love to have you!)

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