Editor Interview | Erica Hoffmeister

Erica Hoffmeister was born and raised in the fragrant orange groves of Southern California, but has been chasing that elusive concept of home since she witnessed the vast, east Texan sky bloom on her first cross-country road trip at the age of seven. She now lives in Denver, where she teaches college writing and advocates for media literacy and digital citizenship. She is the author of two poetry collections: Lived in Bars (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019), and Roots Grew Wild (Kingdoms in the Wild Press, 2019), but considers herself a cross-genre writer and has a variety of work published in several journals and magazines. Learn more at: http://www.ericahoffmeister.com/

With all due respect, I’m not the one hanging off of the back of a ship here.

Jack Dawson, Titanic

What does this quote mean to you?

My undying love for Jack Dawson is not something to take lightly. So, let’s just start there: reading into Titanic quotes until you have some sort of identity crisis. Trust me—it’s kinda fun.

What books have made an important impact on you and why?

I’d love to make a long list of impressive poets and writers that have impacted the world in an important way, that we should all read and cry and joy over. But honestly, sometimes I feel like those lists are often just used to frame one’s writer ego. Kind of like the guy at the back of the venue that only listens to the most obscure bands. So, if I’m being honest, my list of most impactful books to me are probably not very impressive. I’m a simple girl. I like to read to escape. I read the Harry Potter series for the first time at age 25 and it changed my life. Before that, I basically only read anything about Paris because I’m a total Francophile – my favorite being Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore. In grad school, reading War & Peace felt like the biggest accomplishment of my life, and was one of the most beautiful escapes I’d ever experienced. I took Into the Wild so seriously after one read, that I dropped out of school and hit the road for 6 months until I ran out of money somewhere in Kansas City. I can’t keep a copy of Prozac Nation on my shelf because I always end up giving it away to someone who needs it. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly remains my favorite book of all time, despite being written for eleven year old’s. I still cry my eyes out each and every time I re-read Cold Mountain. I had kids specifically so I could pass down my first edition Hardy Boys books to them. And yes, I own Twilight. What can I say? I just want an adventure and a good cry.

What is the value of writing and art in the current state of the world?

It is of the most value fathomable! The arts are our single most important tool for connection—to each other, the earth, our existence. For revolution, for joy. The world would be a better place if we could all just read and write and create and listen and love within our communities. The more we can inject our lives with spaces for art and creation, the better chance we have at surviving human beings’ imminent self-destruction. Or at least be able to enjoy the apocalypse with good books and a badass soundtrack. 

How has writing and art helped to form the person you are today?

You can’t disconnect writing and art from my identity. I don’t have memory that exists before I read and wrote stories. Books, music, movies—through these lenses are how I understand meaning in living. I simply can’t imagine me as a person without the conglomeration of created works of all artistic genres that live and breathe inside me. I basically contain a vast universe of song lyrics, film trivia, and sad poems all wrapped up in musty old pages of books.

What is something that matters to you?

Revolution! Words, art, movement, food, water, travel…literally all facets of society can—and should be—revolutionary. I try to live in a way that actively interrogates social norms—especially within the framework of American exceptionalism that the entire globe has suffered because of—and try to advocate for and alongside my community in ways that seek radical change for the better. As an educator, I prioritize digital and media literacy at the forefront of the people I have the most access to—my students—in hopes to build a generation of learners who understand the importance of free and true exchange of information. As a member of my community, I am politically active and am a member of the abolition group for Denver’s DSA organization. As a writer, I aim to use my tools and talent as a voice for trauma healing through art and writing. As an Aquarian, this is just how the blood runs through my body—radical rebellion following the winds of change, always.

Anything else you’d like people to know?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the greatest television show that has ever existed. Fight me. 

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