Author Q & A with Christi Krug
by Christine Nessler
June 20, 2023
This week’s Author Q & A is with Christi Krug. Christi’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in dozens of journals, zines, and anthologies, most recently in Backchannels Journal, The Saturday Evening Post, and GRIFFEL. Krug is a 2022 Emerging Writer for Centrum and a 2019 creative resident for North Cascades Institute. She is a presenter, a Pushcart nominee for poetry, and the author of Burn Wild: A Writer’s Guide to Creative Breakthrough, inspiring audiences across the United States. Krug serves as a writing coach, teaches for community education programs in Oregon and Washington, and leads nature/yoga/writing experiences at the Oregon Coast where she makes her home. You can find our more about Krug at www.christikrug.com.
Christi’s first appearance in TGLR was in Autumn of 2021 (our 5th issue) which included her flash essay, The Coats in Summer People and we are pleased to have her back with a new non-fiction piece, Nocturnal Lagophthalmos, featured in Issue #11.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m someone who likes joining elements in new ways. As in Nocturnal Lagophthalmos, I like to rearrange memories into something new. I’m a writing coach, yoga teacher, and hiker, and in my writing classes and retreats I bring in modalities of breath and nature; likewise, when leading a nature or spiritual experience, I’ll often bring in writing.
Nocturnal Lagophthalmos tells the story of a young girl who is protecting the fragile nature of her finally happy life. What inspired you to tell this non-fiction story?
A secret usually makes a pretty good story. All my life I never told my foster mom, who is my Mom now, what I’d prayed that night: that my birth mother wouldn’t be healed.
What do you hope your readers gain from reading Nocturnal Lagophthalmos?
I hope that readers can enter into the mindset of a pre-teen and open up to stories and emotions and experiences of their own.
You have a wide range of writing experience from children’s novels to horror stories and self-help to fiction. What is your favorite writing style?
My favorite writing is something that brings the reader into immediacy—whether in a nonfiction account, a fairy tale, or a literary story. I love being caught up in another world, another time. I just finished The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro, an author I love for the overarching reality he creates in each novel. I admire his ability to write in so many different voices.
How do you help others ignite their creativity? How does that differ from igniting your own creativity?
It’s not very different to ignite others’ creativity than it is my own. Some of my most successful teaching and coaching experiences have brought me the best story ideas—right in the moment. Whether teaching or writing, I seek to create a generative dream state, a relaxed and excited space. The tricky part is that when teaching, I have to toggle on and off, in order to give instructions and enable the process for others. Once that’s in place, I can share in the act of writing alongside.
How is ignition different from inspiration when it comes to creativity and writing?
I have so much to say about this! My book, Burn Wild: A Writer’s Guide to Creative Breakthrough, is intended to get you inspired, which is gentle and affirming—but also to ignite action, making a commitment to your creative process.
What makes you most proud?
I’m most proud when a reader says, “Wow, you really took me there. I understood how that character could feel that. It’s something I’ve felt, too.”
What is more rewarding, writing your own work or helping others to believe in themselves as writers? Why?
Both teaching/coaching and writing are integral to sharing my gifts. For years, I prioritized helping others, and then I realized I was missing something huge by putting my own work on a lower rung. Coaching is the day job. But I offer so much more when I lead by example. My residency at Centrum last year was an amazing turnaround for me, reminding me that I’m a writer who coaches, not a coach who writes.
What is one piece of advice you can give to aspiring writers?
Make writing part of your lifestyle. Don’t wait for someone to affirm you. If you love it, give it a huge place in your life and allow others’ reactions a moderate to small place, merely to help grow your skills. Find those who have encouragement as their superpower.
What do you think of when you hear the words, “The Good Life?”
I can relax and be myself. Ah, this is it, no more striving to get anywhere, just allowing what is.
Thank you, Christi, for sharing another of your stories with us and for taking extra time to participate in this Q&A. We wish you the best with writing, coaching, and finding a satisfying balance where you can relax and enjoy all you have accomplished.