The (Her)oics Anthology will be out with Regal House’s Pact Press March 11, 2021–right around the corner! I’m excited to share more details about our fabulous contributors in this new blog series about writers, The Untold Story.
This first Q and A is with Anndee Hochman. Anndee, a writer and teaching artist, lives in Philadelphia.
When I read Anndee’s essay about teaching poetry to young children in March 2020, I knew immediately I wanted to include it. In Poetry in the Time of Coronavirus, Anndee captures beautifully the quirkiness of children, the strangeness of that time, and the power of words. Below is our Q and A, as well as links to her work and the (Her)oics anthology. To see more writer interviews as they publish, just follow this blog.
Anndee, what made you decide to write this piece?
The week of March 9 was one of those times I could see and feel my world–indeed, the entire world–shifting, as the coronavirus pandemic escalated in the United States, Broadway theaters closed and mask-wearing started to become the norm. I wanted to chronicle that enormous change through small, quotidian details, a seismic shift experienced through a single week in a 2nd-grade classroom.
What are three things that got you through the pandemic?
Long daily walks in the woods near my home, or just up the avenue–even when the stores were shuttered and the restaurants quiet–just to be reminded of the world outside my own anxious mind. Dance parties in the living room with disco lights peppering the walls. Other people’s words–in essays, in podcasts, in the poems we read every Friday night before dinner.
What do you miss most about pre-pandemic life?
Hugs. Taking my daughter out to breakfast. Writing in cafes. Inviting friends to dinner. That moment when the theater goes dark, before the play begins. Seeing people’s mouths.
Where do you see your writing going next? Any firm plans or upcoming publications?
I’m venturing into new territory with a young adult novel-in-progress called My Plural Is People, which I drafted during National Novel Writing Month in 2019. The first chapter was a winner of the Arch Street Press 2020 contest and is visible here: http://www.archstreetpress.org/meet-me-19th-street/
Who has been an inspiration or mentor in your writing life?
I’ve been richly surrounded by writing models and mentors all my life, but I’d like to especially honor my dad, Stan Hochman, who died in 2015 and was a sports columnist for more than 60 years. His mantra about writing: Make it bright; keep it tight; get it right. I think of that each time I sit down at the keyboard.
Why do you think people should buy and read the anthology?
Because readers will find laughter, tears, rage, regret, tenacity and possibility in its pages. Because they will slip into lives utterly unlike their own, and lives that remind them of themselves. Because at a time when we still must isolate physically, stories can help us stay connected.
Thank you, Anndee!
Anndee Hochman is a journalist, essayist, storyteller and teaching artist in Philadelphia. She writes the weekly “Parent Trip” column for the Philadelphia Inquirer; her work has also been published in Poets & Writers, Broad Street Review, Purple Clover and other venues. Anndee is a three-time winner of Moth Story Slams, as well as the author of two books–Anatomies: A Novella and Stories and the essay/interview collection Everyday Acts & Small Subversions: Women Reinventing Family, Community and Home. She has taught writing to children, teens and adults for more than 25 years. www.anndeehochman.com
Publications by Anndee Hochman:
Anatomies: A Novella and Stories (Picador USA, 2000)Everyday Acts & Small Subversions: Women Reinventing Family, Community and Home (The Eighth Mountain Press, 1994)