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Cleveland Artist Spotlights
view a video interview with Christine: https://vimeo.com/47089524
CPAC: How did you get introduced to your craft? What made you choose it as a profession?
Christine: I’ve been making up stories as long as I can remember, daydreaming myself into basically every TV show I ever watched. I have a huge catalog of Doctor Who and Blake’s 7 fan fiction that no one is allowed to see, ever. The first storyline I remember being really obsessed with was this 1970s Japanese cartoon called Battle of the Planets (or Gatchaman in Japan). I was really little, maybe five. It was very emotionally heavy, with a lot of the traditional samurai themes. I can’t imagine parents today letting kids that young watch something like that, and to be honest I think that’s to our detriment.
My favorite thing to play with was my mom’s electric typewriter. I had this wonderful olfactory memory the other day of the way it smelled while the motor was running – hot metal and ink. I learned to type when I was about four.
I’ve really had no formal training as a writer, save for one class in Fiction Writing with the late and wonderful Sheila Schwartz at Cleveland State, about thirteen years ago. She said I had a good ear for young, alienated people, and I’ve carried that around with me ever since.
CPAC: What are some things that have influenced you or your work?
Christine: It’s just as important to me – perhaps more important – to immerse myself in film and music as it is in literature. I’ve learned just as much, if not more, about how to set up a story arc from watching Mad Men or Buffy the Vampire Slayer as I have from reading books, and how to set a scene and build characters from listening to Bruce Springsteen, how to create a mood and metaphor by listening to punk rock. Grant Hart, the greatly underappreciated Midwestern songwriter, has this wonderful piece called “You’re the Reflection of the Moon on the Water” which works brilliantly as a backhanded insult or a backhanded compliment. I want my own work to have that quality.
It's important to get out of your element. As a writer of fiction you need to empathize with people who are not like you, so that you can get your reader to understand people who are not like them, and maybe not be so quick to judge. I think this is especially important in times of economic hardship. I also think it never hurts to read as much mythology and folklore as you can get your hands on.
CPAC: What is your favorite place, event, or “hidden gem” in greater Cleveland?
Christine: My favorite places in Cleveland are Loganberry Books, the literature department at Cleveland Public Library, and the cat room at the Cleveland APL. You can just go and pet cats who need adopted and are hankering for companionship.
CPAC: What would you share with an emerging artist (however you define it) as they launch their career?
Christine: Save up as much money as possible first, even if it means working at jobs you don't like. Stay out of debt. Go to the cheapest college possible. This kind of life won't seem glamorous but it'll give you more freedom later on.