To Be A Writer: Lidia Yuknavitch

Monica D Drake
5 min readApr 19, 2022

An Intermittent Series on Writing and Writers

Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of six books. Her works range from a groundbreaking memoir, The Chronology of Water —currently optioned for film by the actress Kristen Stewartto short stories and empowering, inspirational texts like The Misfit’s Manifesto, on the role and contributions of the “misfit,” or outsider, in surviving as well as bringing about positive social change in a complicated world.

I recommend starting at the beginning, reading everything she’s written.

She’s built a career over decades, rising to the status of cult favorite, by delivering a voice on the page that speaks loudly and clearly yet comes across as though sharing a secret intimacy, writer-to-reader. These days, she has a devoted following among readers, writers and writing students and those interested in words and self awareness, truth seekers, out to tell stories that matter.

Lidia Yuknavitch, Corporeal Writing. Photo Credit: Andy Mingo

She’s the founder of an independent writing center, Corporeal Writing, in downtown Portland, Oregon, where groups gather to make work, to know and be known, in full humanity.

I’m grateful to say that Lidia Yuknavitch is a dear friend.

Her latest book, THRUST, will hit the shelves June 28th, 2022, and I’m looking forward to it. With that in mind, I took a moment to check in with her, in anticipation.

The pre-publication materials summarize her new novel by saying, “As rising waters — and an encroaching police state — endanger her life and family, a girl with the gifts of a “carrier” travels through water and time to rescue vulnerable figures from the margins of history.”

It sounds amazing. How could I not drop by to ask her a few questions?

The following is a brief interview, a day of joy, a lovely time, a chat between writers.

Me: Beyond the synopsis, what would you say the book is about…?

LY: I’m always a little reticent about the ‘about’ question, since I suspect I write novels to NOT know what something is about, rather to hold open interesting questions, for better or worse, but I will say this much:the story revolves around the nexus of capitalism, language, identity and desire…There’s also this: There is a

Monica D Drake

Monica Drake is the author of the novels, Clown Girl and The Stud Book, and the linked story collection, The Folly of Loving Life.