A Minimalist Conversation with Natalie Meisner

By Andrea Johnston

If I am to continue to imagine these minimalist conversations as speed dating, then I would have several sheets of paper filled with advice and inspiration from the writers that I have met. There would also be a half filled glass of Riesling close to my right hand and it would be right around now that I would massage my hand from taking notes. I quickly grab my pen as the bell to change partners rings. With my left hand, I reach for my glass of wine and I toast my next interviewee: Natalie Meisner.

1. Name? Natalie Meisner

2. Writing? Yes: Speed Dating For Sperm Donors

3. What? A Comedic One-Act Play about the journey that my wife and I took as we searched for “Mr. Right’ to help us start a family

4. Why? Writing sooths the savage beast…or at least keeps it busy and out of trouble.

5. Teaching? Love it in equal amounts to writing.

6. Where? Mount Royal University, Calgary AB

7. How? Alternating doses of well deserved praise and no-nonsense critique.

8. Success? Bask in it, when it comes.

9. Student(s)? Gotta love them.

10. Work? Should be very serious play.

11. Play? A very smart person (I am thinking Plato) said you can learn more about someone in an hour of
play than in a year of conversation.

12. Politics? On occasion.

13. Poetics? Thoroughly interwoven with the fabric of daily life.

14. Language? (see 18, below)

15. Books? Macrobiotic reading: Dirty Deeds (Kathleen Tudor) and Monsters of Suburbia (Darcy Rhyno) both authors from my little home town, Lockeport, Nova Scotia.

16. Genre? Is a cool tool for heavy lifting.

17. Words? Flinder means “butterfly” in Dutch (which I am learning) and just sounds so much like the thing it describes.

18. Advice? “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum”

19. Inspiration? “Language is wine upon the lips” Virginia Woolf

20. Questions? Along with deadlines are our best friends: Find a question you need to answer and you have found the path to our book, story, poem or piece of art.

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