Dina Del Bucchia is an otter and dress enthusiast and the author of three collections of poetry: Coping with Emotions and Otters (Talonbooks, 2013), Blind Items (Insomiac Press, 2014), and Rom Com (Talonbooks 2015), the latter written with her Can’t Lit podcast co-host Daniel Zomparelli. She is an editor of Poetry Is Dead magazine and the Artistic Director of the Real Vancouver Writers’ Series. Dina created and updates “Dress Like a Book” (on tumblr and Instagram) to unite two of her great loves: literature and fashion. Her first collection of short stories, Don’t Tell Me What to Do, is out now with Arsenal Pulp Press. There is some stuff about her at dinadelbucchia.com.
1. What do you want to talk about, but nobody ever asks?
I want to talk about the kind of writing I don’t want to do. People in creative fields are always being described as the next _________. I think writers are often asked to compare themselves to other writers. And I am inspired by so many amazing writers I aspire to be half as good as, to attempt to reach heights of writing I will never achieve. I’m more interested in who not to be. What kind of writing are you not inspired by? That’s a fun question. Is that too negative? Oh well!
2. What advice do you wish you’d received, but didn’t, when you first started to take writing seriously?
I wish someone had told me it was okay to be funny. I spent so much time trying to be the most serious, deep, obnoxious writer because I assumed that was the only way writing could work. I needed to take the work seriously, but I needed to lighten up to find my writing self. I’m also kind of happy that I figured it out myself. I put in all those brooding hours.
3. What are your regular habits as a writer?
My most regular habit is that I write in the morning, or daytime (if I happen to have a day off). I live in a small apartment. I don’t have a separate ooh la la office. I have a corner and I write in it. Or in bed. Or on the couch. I don’t write in coffee shops. I don’t even drink coffee. I like it to be quiet, no music or anything. Just me and my computer getting down to business.
4. What is your editing process?
I write a lot of notes to myself about what is going on in the writing. Sometimes the notes are very mean, and I have to contend with why I called myself an idiot for not taking a character’s motivation seriously, or for a weak line break. Sometimes the notes are more gentle, and let me find new ways into the work through self-encouragement. These notes are my way through. I also do a lot of thinking away from the computer. Let things just settle, or get super amped up, in my brain. Then I come back to the work. I feel that each piece of writing requires different techniques. That also just might be my way of justifying a messy process.
5. What is your greatest difficulty as a writer?
Finding time to write. Vancouver is expensive and you basically have to work all the time to live here. And also, I’m a very social person so I don’t necessarily prioritize writing if there’s a party or an event or someone texts me that they’re at happy hour. I love writing, but I love hanging out with people more.
6. How do you decide which book to read next?
Sometimes, like for Can’t Lit, I’ll have to read a book to prepare for the podcast, so it jumps to the front of the line. Otherwise, it’s all about mood. If I want to be cheered up I’m not going to read the deepest, darkest, most tragic memoir. And often I’ll be anticipating a new release and have to read it right way due to extreme excitement.
7. What is your greatest single ambition?
I want to host a talk show. On television. I want to be paid to wear nice clothes and have interesting conversations.
8. Why don’t you quit?
I respect people who quit things. It takes a lot of ovaries to step away. But I just am too invested in all of it. And I love it. And I love all the people I’ve met and the community around me. And the attention. I can’t lie. It feeds my need for attention.