Interview with Inkwell Alumnus, Sydney Kappel
After Inkwell’s Release Party in September, Hannah Dosch was able to catch up with former Managing Editor, Sydney Kappel.
1) How has English shaped your view of the world?
I think that English, if anything, is a good exercise in empathy. I think reading works by others and getting a different perspective than your own is important. Like if in the world, people were a little more empathetic we’d be in a better situation. My biggest thing is that it’s good at teaching empathy and good for being understanding and a decent human being.
2) What did you enjoy the most about Bethany’s English program/what do you miss?
I’ve definitely missed creative workshops the most. I just feel like being in a creative environment is really good fuel to actually do creative things. I think we all want to create things by ourselves, but the reality is that it is sometimes hard and you’re not motivated. It’s easier to just watch TV than to read or to write. Writing can be a task because you have to look within yourself and try to make something that speaks to someone. I think the big thing about class is that it gives you initiative, you need to do something. Now I don’t get a grade, I don’t need to workshop my piece so it’s harder to create and do it [write]. With Inkwell, I miss reading submissions for issues. Reading others’ works was good because you get your own ideas from their pieces. I miss the professors as well, they’re just good people.
3) Are you working on any pieces right now?
I am currently not working on anything but I do have a notes app full of ideas for stories I want to write. I sometimes will be walking and get an idea for something and type it down in my notes app, which is a super long note with writing ideas I want to come back to. I also have a Google doc with the start of some pieces
4) You’ve published in a few Inkwell magazines: What draws you to writing in this genre? (prose)
So the first time I ever wrote CNF (Creative Nonfiction) was in Creative Writing with Lissa [Torres]. I remember sitting in my room on the fourth floor of Anderson and I started five different drafts of five different things. I hate being vulnerable but I find when I write Creative Nonfiction I very much so am. At least by my standards. It’s good for self-reflection and figuring out why, the general question of why, because I think I’m very much about why things happened or why I did certain things. It gives me clarity and I also like that there’s a lot of room in the genre to explore. You can do so many cool things with it. I don’t write anything but CNF anymore which is weird because if you asked me a few years ago my answer would have been writing fiction. There’s always something real in fiction like CNF but now all I write in is CNF and I totally blame Lissa for that.
5) Staying motivated as a writer can be challenging, whether it’s developing ideas or making revisions to your work.
How do you approach the writing process? Do you have any methods for staying motivated?
While in Creative Writing classes, my writing was more scheduled and I had to sit down and write. We’d have a prompt and you would think about that for a while and come up with something. I feel like a lot of my best writing (this is terrible you should not model after me) got done in classes I was bored in. I would just write, I would be “on task” but I would just write because life is busy and I had the time that I wasn’t going to focus so I might as well create.
6) What are your current pursuits?
Right now I am working as a personal account manager for insurance. The most writing I’ve done recently is emails to clients which you know are beautifully crafted and have eloquent grammar but are to the point. I have a lot of ideas of things I want to do; maybe I’ll write something about my dog Camino or something else from my notes app.
7) What would be your English dream job?
I’ve never had an answer to this question until recently. I was always hoping my general dream job would hit me, but no, my dream English job hit me. It would be writing for SNL (Saturday Night Live), would that not be the most fun thing? I just think it would be so much fun and I like serious writing but also making stupid poems and rhyming dumb things. I like witty humor and not taking yourself too seriously. That would be the dream.