Community of Writers: Kelly Lin-Kremer

Kelly Lin-Kremer is the Data and Project Coordinator in the Department of History. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Edible Jersey and InQluded. In 2018, she attended the VONA/Voices of Our Nation Writers Workshop for writers of color with Shay Youngblood. In lieu of an interview, she here offers a written contribution to Princeton Writes’ Community of Writers series, as well as a taste of her own work, entitled “The Long Journey.”

What draws you to writing? 

I love story-telling, and I love the idea-exploration part of writing. It’s so fun to see where the next sentence will take me. I also really enjoy world-building, because you have to be strategic with what you tell the reader and when. You want to give the reader the details and exposition that will also deepen their understanding of character, theme, etc. All the superfluous stuff should be cut. I like being concise.

Who is your audience?

My audience is probably anyone who likes imaginative writing, like speculative fiction, magical realism, and/or fantasy. Sometimes I write YA, sometimes I write for an “older” audience. I don’t usually write poems, even though that’s the writing excerpt that accompanies this [piece].

What is your writing process?

I try to write regularly, which tends to be more aspiration than reality. Before social distancing, I liked to work on the children’s floor of the Princeton Public Library. I come from a big family, so I like to have a little hustle and bustle going on around me while I write. Other people would probably be too distracted by kids sometimes running and screaming, but I like it. Working in a library also makes it convenient for me to grab a book for inspiration when I get stuck writing.

What is it about the world that you want to capture or change through writing?

I usually write about women, people of color, and LGBT+ folk in order to capture the diversity of life and experiences in my writing. My writing also tends to focus on injustice. My main characters are often either reacting to being silenced or silencing themselves. Sometimes the narrators themselves oppress or mistreat others, because trauma is never self-contained: there is always leakage. At the same time, the injustice is usually balanced by hope in my stories, because we need to hope and imagine the futures we want to make reality for future generations.

Who are your favorite writers?

I hate choosing favorites, but I do like, in no particular order, Kazuo Ishiguro, Diana Wynne Jones, Neil Gaiman, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Mindy Kaling, and Jane Austen. I also love the work of Hayao Miyazaki, who is not a writer, but we’ll call him a story-teller for the purposes of this piece.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Lin-Kremer


The Long Journey

They say the journey is long.

How long? I ask, but they give no specifics.

A pink rabbit

— Pink — they reiterate,

Will accompany you.

The moon will squeak

When you’ve found your way,

And you’ll see a hammer made of salt

Floating on a puddle

That is really an

Ocean.

 

To fetch the hammer

You must walk through

This puddle-ocean.

Beware of sea dragons,

Beware of young men.

Speak not as you traverse this body

Of water. If you must speak,

Say only, Why? and Why? and Why?

 

The journey will be too long,

Too hard

Too lonely

If you do not ask, Why?