I started doing collage work with the intention of giving myself a creative activity free from the external and internal pressures of my creative mainline of writing fiction. Writing at this point in my life is inextricably tied up with messy ambitions and anxieties related to remuneration, prestige, career development, etc. Although collaging is comparatively no-stakes, it's not the purely pleasurable and relaxing respite from writing that I thought it would be. When working on a collage I find myself as frustrated by the caprices of process as when I write. Sometimes one or more complete and finished works come together effortlessly over the course of an hour or less; other times I'll spend days or weeks paging through books and magazines for the perfect missing element before giving up and realizing the whole work-in-progress is a piece of garbage anyway. And as with writing, it's impossible to gauge my opinion on a finished piece until some time has passed; some of the collages I consider my favorite now, like one featuring kids marching before a tank in a field of flowers, I initially considered failures. I'm resigned that this is the way it will always be with me when it comes to any kind of creative impulse.
To read Luke Geddes's interview with Kayla Rae Whitaker in this issue, click here.