The Person I Was Meant To Be: Interview with Julia Jackson
Julia Jackson is a comedienne and solo artist performing in LezWritesBTQ Kick Off Showcase coming up Sunday, October 6, 7pm at The Brava Theater Center in San Francisco. LexWritesBTQ creates space for emerging lesbian, queer, transgender, and gender non-conforming theatre-makers, playwrights and solo-performers whose work speaks directly to lesbian and queer artists and audiences, with an emphasis on women of color, people with disabilities, and other communities traditionally underrepresented in theatre. I’m delighted to have a short play in this show with Julia.
Julia has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was a Semi-Finalist in the San Francisco International Comedy Competition. She appeared in the film, “Some Prefer Cake” and has worked with Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, and Paul Mooney. Her solo performance piece, “Children Are Forever: All Sales Are Final” won the Best Non-Fiction Show Award at the 2016 United Solo Festival in New York City and was selected for the 2018 Strawberry One-Act Festival in New York City.
What do you love about writing?
It makes me feel alive. I feel deeply connected to God. I feel like I am the person I was meant to be when I write. And I do mean write, as in pen to paper. I have to start there. Keyboards to me are what condoms are to men. You’re doing what you love but there's just something missing.
One writer you love?
One of my writing heroes is James Baldwin. I am still floored by the character of David in "Giovanni's Room." Baldwin's ability to write so convincingly from the perspective of someone in the active stages of denial is amazing. Maybe because I was emerging from one of those stages myself on the same subject prejudiced me, I don't know. Once I was out of that denial, it was difficult to return to that previous mental state, so I can't imagine being able to embody it so completely via writing.
What are you doing in LezWritesBTQ?
My solo performance piece, "Worst.Boyfriend.Ever." Every good Lesbian has a beer-guzzling, Camaro-driving boyfriend in their closet . . . or was it just me?
Where do you stand on Hemingway?
I also love Hemingway. A lot of women tell me they don't like Papa because he is so male. That comment always puzzles me because for me, great writing always touches some universal trait. I don't need to be a Black lesbian to appreciate Audre Lorde . . . oh wait, I am. Bad example. My point is that different characters are just different access points to the Human Experience, no matter who creates them.
Favorite Hemingway story?
"Islands In The Stream" is my favorite Hemingway novel, because it's three novels in one! And God knows I love a bargain. I don't know why this one struck me more than the other more popular ones. The section detailing the struggle for the large fish captivated me--and I do not fish! My only issue with Hemingway has to do with his suicide. Whenever I run across any sadness or ennui in his writing, I can't help but think it got him in the end. Whatever he was able to tap into in his writing ended up being too much. (Cue the codependent symphony.)
What do writing and sex have to do with each other?
Writing and sex both involve high stakes communication and usually a rather naïve desire for everything to be organic and not require actual work. Both involve a balance of show versus tell, but the consequences are different; one leads to bad writing and the other to a lawsuit.
Really good writing excites my very soul. Sex can do that, but rarely. And books are way easier to come by. (Absolutely, positively no pun intended. Seriously.) For me, good casual sex is like grabbing a Jackie Collins novel before getting on a long flight. I love it--no guilt. But a bad "fluff" book leaves me a lot angrier than a bad hook up. The bad sex is on me and I can learn from it. Bad writing I can learn from and walk away in the middle of it. I suppose I could do that during bad sex, but . . . see lawsuit reference above.
I coax sexy writers like Julia Jackson to reveal their creative secrets and processes in writer interviews to inspire you:
Read more about Julia’s work on her website.
Follow Julia on Twitter.
Get tickets to LezWritesBTQ Kick Off Showcase coming up Sunday, October 6, 7pm at The Brava Theater Center in San Francisco to see Julia’s solo piece, “Worst Boyfriend Ever” and my short play “Generation Sex.”