Hanna Kjeldbjerg is a writer and editor with Beaver’s Pond Press, based in the Twin Cities. She will be at Write On the end of April and will lead the day-long workshop “Revise Like an Insider: Beyond Show, Don’t Tell” on April 29. We had the opportunity to chat with Hanna about her work and upcoming residency.
Write On: Where do you live?
Hanna Kjeldbjerg: I moved to Minneapolis eight years ago, and despite my best intentions of returning to my roots in Illinois, I’ve fallen in love with the Twin Cities.
WO: What is your writing discipline like?
HK: I create my best work when I commit to a daily writing practice. When I hold myself to the expectation of creating at least one thing every day—whether it’s a fully formed piece or a single stanza—it shifts the way I see the world. I start peeking in corners for shreds of inspiration I might otherwise have overlooked. I listen more deeply, have hungrier eyes, and more willingly follow where I’m led. But don’t let that answer fool you—these periods of discipline are all-too-often interrupted by periods of writing laziness! That’s why writing classes and retreats like the ones offered at Write On Door County are such valuable jumpstarts.
WO: Can you tell us about your current writing project?
HK: I’m working on a series of long-form poems centered on calls to action I’ve experienced. When I learned that the Associated Press won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for their investigation into slave labor in seafood suppliers, I was struck by the power of words to make a positive difference. I want to add my voice to causes that I feel passionately about. Knowledge is power, and I want my writing to help tip the scales.
WO: Do you have a favorite place to visit in Door County or, if this will be your first visit, a site that you look forward to exploring?
HK: The last time I was in Door County was for a Girl Scout retreat, so I’m coming with largely foggy memories and a vague sense of fondness.
WO: Unrelated to writing, what is your favorite activity?
HK: I love seeing live music, and am constantly trying to check bands off my bucket list (current top contenders are the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the John Butler Trio).
WO: How did you become involved with Write On?
HK: My co-worker, Laurie Flanigan Hegge, sang Write On Door County’s praises, and I am incredibly grateful my proposal was accepted!
WO: What can people expect from your upcoming workshop or presentation?
HK: Leonardo da Vinci said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned,” and Beyond “Show, Don’t Tell” is designed to help writers find the places in their manuscript that can be cracked open and taken to the next level. Every scene, every sentence is an opportunity, and writers can expect to leave with a few tricks up their sleeves for how to take their writing “beyond.”
WO: What advice can you give to aspiring Write On writers?
HK: Don’t be afraid to claim the title “writer.” You don’t need the affirmation of a published book, or award, or even a grade to be a writer—you just need to write!