Creative Writing

Where I Write: With Jonny Keshishoglou

Where I Write, a series of short interviews with current students, faculty, and alumni of the Creative Writing Program. It is a discussion of place in writing. What our writing spaces look like can be as varied as the physical spaces that exist (or don’t!) in New York and beyond, and as varied as the mental and psychic spaces we occupy while we write. Log into nostalgia with second year MFA in fiction Jonny Keshishoglou.

Where do you write?

I can never write in my room, so in the past, it usually meant going to libraries or coffee shops. But that hasn’t really been in the cards during these past couple of years. Lately, this new building I moved into has a common space that I’ve never seen anyone else use, even though it has lots of natural light and seems clean. So I go down there to write, and I have it all to myself.

Stand, sit or other?

I sit down. If I’m standing, it usually means I’m pacing, which usually means the writing is going poorly.

What is your writing practice?

I’m dead in the mornings and busy in the afternoons, so I mostly write during evenings or at night. I’ll grab coffee if it’s not late enough in the day to mess with my sleep schedule, though sometimes I miscalculate that. Once I’m sitting down, it’s just a matter of waiting for the “flow state” to happen. When I’m on a strict deadline, I might plan out what I’m hoping to write beforehand. If I’m really struggling to write, then I have this warm-up where I go to Wikipedia, hit “random article,” and write a few lines about whatever comes up.

What are your favorite procrastinations?

Nostalgia is comforting, and it seems like a lot of people returned to childhood habits in some way during the lockdown. For me, that meant logging back into my old Neopets account. If I need to procrastinate, it’s usually playing with the real pets or playing with the Neopets, in that order.

We live in interesting times, which book/author keeps you sane/grounded?

I’ve always enjoyed books that use humor to approach heavier subjects. Off the top of my head, some of my favorites have been No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood, Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong, and Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris. 

What is your new skill learned during the shutdowns of the Pandemic

I was planning to start playing music again, but it’s been two years and I can’t say that’s happened yet. But I’ve picked an interesting time to start working as a teacher, and that’s been going well. 

What is your dream writing space?

Oh, that’s easy. Space.

Jonny Keshishoglou (who often publishes his work as “Jonathan Kesh”) is an editor and writer from San Jose, California, who is currently based in Queens. He is pursuing his MFA in fiction at The New School, and his articles have appeared in The Rumpus, Content Magazine, and Mashable, among others.

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