Both sides now: 2 or 3 questions for Karen Rigby

No Stendhal, she, but around here, poet Karen Rigby is known as the author of the "Red" and the "Black." And then there's her work for Cerise Press, about which:


You're both a poet and, as one of the editors of Cerise Press, also a publisher. Do writing and editing work in tandem for you, each giving you energy and inspiration to tackle the other? Or are they largely separate endeavors, using different parts of your creative brain, and relating to one another only incidentally?

Writing and editing are different activities; the former (at least in the drafting stage) pulls me inward, toward reflection, solitude, intuition, questioning and contemplation, while the latter is more about collaboration and conversing with others.

At the same time, good writing entails good editing, and good editing—while it doesn't always require that one be a writer as well—involves
understanding writers.

Could you do one and not the other—edit but not write, or the other way around? If so, which would you pick? And what would fill the hole, left by the other?

Publishing a journal like Cerise Press depends on a seasonal rhythm, and though it is always an adventure, it also comes with structure—writing is far less predictable. I see writing as existing on a longer continuum. Editing may be the daily work, with constant deadlines to meet, but writing evolves at its own pace.

I could do without either (though I might have answered otherwise 5, 10, even 15 years ago, when the urgency toward writing was almost an anguish)—after all, there are already so many talented individuals well-deserving of further notice. But it's an either/or sort of question, and life is seldom like that.

Closer to the truth: I have had periods when I was writing, but not editing anything, or editing, but not writing as much, and somehow the two eventually follow after each other anyway, whether I'd intended it or not.