Contributor Spotlight: Alli Jordan

purple flowersAlli Jordan’s piece “Living Closer to the Ground II” appears in Midwestern Gothic Issue 6, out now.

How long have you been writing?
I wrote a full length play at the age of 13, but I stopped writing creatively until fate stepped in when I was 20. After some success with playwriting, I decided to take my writing to the next level by attending a MFA program. I am a young writer and still have a lot to learn, but don’t we all?

What’s your connection to the Midwest?
I am originally from in Kansas City and spent a huge chunk of my life in small towns in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. My grandpa owned a beautiful cabin along the Osage River where I spent a lot of time in the summers. The rusted old cabins and boats always caught my eye.

How has the Midwest influenced your writing?
Small, Midwestern towns intrigue me with a sense of run-down, gothic beauty. As a young girl, I loved walking around in my grandmother’s neighborhood in Sedalia, Missouri with the broken
sidewalks and the old Victorian houses that were once prized places. I also have a propensity towards people who always yearn to escape to the big city but somehow get stuck at home due
to lost dreams, family pressures, or high school sweethearts.

Why do you believe there has never really been a regionalist push for Midwestern writing in the past like there has with the South or even the West Coast?
The Midwest seems to be overlooked as a place for artists, but so many stories are just waiting to be told here. I think the Midwest is beginning to grow as a place for art especially in places like Chicago. Kansas City’s art scene is growing like wild fire especially in terms of theatre and visual art. The Midwest in terms of a region is also difficult since it covers such a wide area of land. We’re the lost chunk between the coasts. This sense of loss, however, has created intrigue. The term “gothic” is truly perfect in describing the sense of hopelessness that can exist in Midwestern states. For a long time outsiders look at places like Iowa and Kansas and say, “what’s going on there besides farming?” A lot is happening in the arts; we just need a venue to show the world.

How do you feel about social media to promote your writing, and do you use it?
I use social media to share what’s happening locally in my city in terms of art. I’ve used Twitter and Facebook to promote plays I have showing or promote the work of my close friends. If no one buys a book or attends a play, it’s the death of art. We need someone to receive and react to make art truly successful, and social media helps. Some writers can seem a bit pompous when using social media, and I believe humility is a very important virtue. I never want to brag or self-promote too much.

Favorite book?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The book changed my life.

Favorite food?
Peanut Butter anything.

If you could have coffee (or tea or a beer) with any literary figure, alive or dead, who would it be?
I have to choose just one? William Shakespeare. Cliché, I know, but the man was bloody brilliant.

Where can we find more information about you?
You can follow me on Twitter @Alliloveslife.

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