A “proudly born-and-raised Queens writer, poet, curator, and arts crusader,” Audrey Dimola reflects
the boundless energy and diversity that is at the heart of her home borough. Audrey organized the first-ever Queens Literary Town Hall at the Queens Council on the Arts; has curated shows for the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center and the Queens Museum; and is the founder of the fireside reading/live writing series Nature of the Muse, which BORO Magazine called “one of the most exciting literary events in the city.” Her newest book, TRAVERSALS, was released on November 3.
Audrey is the featured reader at our Open Mic for Poets event on Sunday, January 11 at the Central Library. In this interview that originally appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of Enrich Your Life, Audrey shares her thoughts on creativity, Queens, and connecting with others.
As a Queens native, what role did the Library play in your life?
I have such fond memories of Queens Library growing up — walking to the Ravenswood branch with my mom and brother and staying for hours, then lugging bags and bags of books back home. I was so lucky to have my mom instill a great love of reading in me when I was so young.
Tell us about your new book, and your approach to writing.
My approach to writing is always both visceral and mystical — it emerges from a raw feeling of necessity, oftentimes tumbling out as if it was rushing in from somewhere else. TRAVERSALS is my second collection of poetry and prose — it chronicles what gets left behind and how we honor what we have experienced. Ultimately, it’s about trusting the journey and the resiliency of the human heart.
Can you talk about the artistic and literary community here in Queens?
Queens has always had such a vibrant history, no doubt thanks in part to its incredible multiculturalism, but the borough is so widespread that often we are creating culture totally unbeknownst to each other! Thankfully, the change I’ve seen in recent times is an emphasis on interconnectedness. In the past few years alone, I’ve seen so much more activity in terms of literary events happening from Jamaica to Kew Gardens. All it takes is people willing to DO IT, to reach out to each other and make it happen.
Can you give other independent authors any advice on how to get their work noticed?
For me, what it comes down to is: don’t only think of yourself. Go to readings and open mics but DON’T just go to perform — go to watch and make connections. Being around a community of artists helps you to break out of your own shell — to experience what others are doing and, most importantly, to have SUPPORT. Above all, just be YOU. It’s easier than ever nowadays to get your work out there, so come with energy and enthusiasm, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or take chances — tweet to a reporter, go up to someone new at an event, send a random email!
What advice do you have for young authors, or writers who are just getting started?
My advice is to trust the process. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but that doesn’t mean it’s always been easy. Just recognize the ebb and flow. Don’t throw out your pages when you think they’re awful, don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that you have to write a certain way or know all the “greats,” and don’t listen to the gatekeepers who keep telling you how, because at the heart of you, YOU know how. Dive into the wealth of literature in the world. Whether you are rejected or accepted to a journal, whether you are performing to a packed house or to a few filled seats — do your best, make it all count, and of course: ENJOY IT.