Creative Writing at The New School

Where I Write, a series of short interviews with current students, faculty, and alumni of the Creative Writing Program. It is a discussion of place in writing. What our writing spaces look like can be as varied as the physical spaces that exist (or don't!) in New York and beyond, and as varied as the mental and psychic spaces we occupy while we write. We are deeply grateful to Kate Tooley's generosity and bravery for being the first post up and inviting us all into her space.

What is your writing practice?

Improvisational. It definitely fluxuates. I’ve never been a creature of habit. I’m more like a cat that’s sleeping in your sweaters one week and on top of the kitchen cabinets the next.

What is your favorite procrastination or binge watch?

Twitter is a big one for me; I love reading whatever stories pop up on my feed in a given morning, and also threads from people who have really niche interests and expertise. Open world gaming is really relaxing for me too -- I’m super happy exploring a landscape and like, collecting mushrooms. I’m not a huge TV person, but I freely admit that my wife and I have watched the entirety of She-Ra twice since quarantine.  

What was the book that got you through the Pandemic?

I've read so many incredible, game changing books this year, but as far as books that have gotten me through up til now... I keep going back to Marie-Helene Bertino’s Parakeet to remind myself what I love about language and writing. On a totally different note, the first two books of Tamsyn Muir’s Locked Tomb Trilogy have helped me laugh a lot and get out of the world for a bit, both of which feel like very big things right now. 

What is your new skill learned during the shutdown?

Focusing on one thing at a time and saying no. I’d like to tell you that I’d learned to play, you know, the dulcimer or speak another language or something, but really the biggest win has been not always doing ten percent more than I should realistically take on. Also my Spicy Old Fashioned game has gotten really strong. 

What does your dream writing space look like?

I love writing in public places -- I’m aching for a crowded neighborhood coffee shop that’s as much a community meeting place where everyone knows each other as anything else. Lots of plants, warm afternoon light coming in the windows, and all the low buzz of coffee grinders and conversations. Somewhere with strong espresso and good pastries, or pie, pie would be even better. Alternately a half full subway car at an odd time of day: midafternoon or late at night; that weird quiet that hits sometimes and a single bottle rolling from one end of the car to the other; all the intense subway smells and people doing their thing and paying absolutely no attention to me. 

Kate Tooley is a second year fiction student living in Brooklyn with her wife, fur-children, and what appears to be a small farm taking over her kitchen. Her writing can be found online in Pidegonholes, Longleaf Review, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, and elsewhere. katetooley.com

If interested in participating in a Where I Write profile, please email slivc631@newschool.edu.

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Founded in Greenwich Village in 1931, Creative Writing at The New School continues to promote, engender, and shape innovative literature.