Friend Files is a new feature I’ve added to Away With Words, this being just the twelfth installment. I will be interviewing a friend of mine and showcasing why they are a friend to me and what I like about them, and also a mini-interview (five questions) that detail what they think of me. It’s a way to acknowledge my friends out there and what they’re up to and also introduce them to my larger group of friends, acquaintances, and anyone else who might be interested in reading.
Today, I will be talking about Karla Fossett. Before I get into what I think of her, here is my mini-interview with Karla (exchanged over Facebook) where she jotted down just a few thoughts:
KARLA FOSSETT’S FRIEND FILES INTERVIEW
ME: Give me some details about your life.
KARLA FOSSETT: I live in Portland, which I love (except right now when we have snowbanks 7 feet high). I grew up in Maine, and my family is pretty much all nearby. My nieces are the light of my life – they’re 1 and 3, so they keep us all busy. I work as a technical editor/proofreader. One of my favorite hobbies is exploring new restaurants in the area, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.
ME: How exactly did we meet?
KARLA FOSSETT: At the Harraseeket Inn, your second Stonecoast residency (which was my fourth).
ME: What is one good memory you have involving me?
KARLA FOSSETT: Riding the train together down to AWP in Boston! That can be a long ride to take alone, and it was great to have a friend with me. Plus, there were thousands of people at AWP, so it was fortifying to travel there with someone.
ME: Why exactly are we still friends?
KARLA FOSSETT: Because Stonecoast is family. And there are very few of us in Portland – we have to stick together.
ME: Anything you want me to plug?
KARLA FOSSETT: Not right now. But hopefully soon! I am still working on my first novel, going through the first end-to-end edit and getting it in better shape to start shopping around.
I met Karla during my time with Stonecoast, a low-residency MFA program we both attended together, but at slightly different times. She was a little bit ahead of me, but her class was pretty good about talking to all of us newcomers. Karla was interesting. At first, believe it or not, I thought Karla disliked me. She had asked me a question about how I had managed to get into a certain elective workshop for screenwriting having only just come into the program. I didn’t know, and she sort of just walked away. I didn’t know that they’d just changed the way they did some things at Stonecoast, so I mistakenly thought for a while that she didn’t like me. I flat out asked her one day during one of the residencies, and she laughed and said “Of course I don’t dislike you.” From then on, I sought her out and tried to get to know her better.
I think the time I really got to know her was during a dance (where, for some reason I end up meeting lots of people and befriending them) when we joked about a few things and danced a little. After that, we became Facebook friends (if we weren’t already before) and by the time I went to AWP in Boston (a writer’s conference) we had become good enough friends that the train ride was pleasant with lots of conversation. She told me about her family, her job, her writing. Another memory was also during AWP when we both dressed in costumes for a Stonecoast party. That was super-fun.
Since then, Karla and I have both graduated from Stonecoast. We don’t see each other often, as we’re both busy, but every once in a while I run into her in the city and we’ll say hello and catch up – and she occasionally runs into my girlfriend as well. Karla is usually pretty reserved, but I like how honest she is and her sense of style and sense of humor. She’s also a fellow Stonecoaster, and she’s right that we stick together.
I’m glad that I was able to attend most of my Stonecoast career with Karla, and glad that I have the chance of running into her in the city now that we’re both out. She’s a really cool person.
And now, I leave you with some photos relevant to my friendship with Karla: