Today I am delighted to have an Inspired By feature with author Kim Fu.
The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu
A group of young girls descend on a sleepaway camp where their days are filled with swimming lessons, friendship bracelets, and songs by the fire. Filled with excitement and nervous energy, they set off on an overnight kayaking trip to a nearby island. But before the night is over, they find themselves stranded, with no adults to help them survive or guide them home.
The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore traces these five girls through and beyond this fateful trip. We see them through successes and failures, loving relationships and heartbreaks; we see what it means to find, and define, oneself, and the ways in which the same experience is refracted through different people.
A portrait of friendship and of the families we build for ourselves, and the pasts we can’t escape.
Inspired By Feature with Kim Fu
Can you tell us about someone who inspired your writing in some way? What it means to you now and if you could say anything to them what would it be?
Keith Maillard, a professor in my MFA program and a gorgeous novelist in his own right, taught me a lot of things about writing and the writing life that I’m still unpacking almost a decade later—things I wasn’t ready to hear or understand at that point in my life. He emphasized the importance of stillness, reflection, and daydreaming in the creative process, not just the part where you are actually putting down words on the paper; he wanted us to figure out what a piece of writing (our own or someone else’s) wanted to be, as opposed to what we wanted it to be; and he taught that writing itself, new ideas and new stories, would always be there, as the external stuff—publications, accolades, gigs—would ebb and flow. I hope he knows I am learning from those lessons still.
What words of advice would you offer anyone starting their writing career?
Read! Read widely, deeply, and broadly. Read across genres, author identities, and time. Read the kinds of things you’d like to write, and read at the far outside edges of your own taste. Secondly, form genuine friendships with other writers, and be a kind, supportive member of your writing communities. Connections are really important, but not in the way many aspiring writers think. Rather than schmoozing with people you perceive to be successful, seek out peers whose work you admire, who you want to succeed, and help each other, grow your careers together. In my experience, this is much more effective, and a lot more joyful, too.
What does being a writer mean to you?
I feel very lucky to be a writer, or an artist of any kind. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have this way of processing my thoughts and feelings, personal and global events. I feel even luckier that I get to share it with other people and that I’ve made a livelihood out of it, but I believe one is a writer whether or not those things are true. It’s a cliché, but you’re a writer if you write, you’re an artist if you make art, if you give some form to the chaos.
Finally, do you have a favourite bookish quote.
“The story of your life, described, will not describe how you came to think about your life or yourself, nor describe any of what you learned. This is what fiction can do—I think it is even what fiction is for.” –Alexander Chee, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
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