Each week we will be connecting with our contributors showing where they have been, where they are now, and what’s up for the future.
Name: Diane Joy Schmidt
Title of Pieces Published in Sweet: “Instructions for How to Be Popular in Seventh Grade” and “Spider“
As a writer and photographer covering social, ethical and environmental issues of the Southwest, Diane can be found in New Mexico. You can also find out more about her on her website.
What are some major accomplishments you have had since your Sweet publication?
I graduated with an M.F.A. dual degree in Screenwriting and New Media from Antioch University Santa Barbara in December, 2019, a very new and wonderful low-residency MFA program with a very low faculty-student ratio. My two graphic narrative pieces published in Sweet were made during the New Media portion of that dual degree, and they recently were respectively awarded Second place for Poetry and Honorable Mention for Short Story by the New Mexico Press Women Communications Contest. “Instructions” was first written one afternoon in Santa Fe during a Lauren Camp writing workshop prompt. I also had a piece published in Geometry Journal v. 5 in New Zealand, “The Encounter: Budapest,” about missed cues between a Holocaust survivor and a young American woman visitor. It also won, a first place for writer/photographer in the NMPW contest, and is viewable from my website.
At Antioch I then also finished a first draft of a screenplay – something I never thought I’d do! I am now working on its revision. I discovered that with my background in journalism and photojournalism, that screenwriting is exactly the medium that works for me. That is what is keeping me busy right now. I also have been writing some film reviews.
Can you tell us about a current/ongoing project that you’re excited about?
Finishing my first screenplay, with a second in my sights.
Who is your favorite author?
Ohh. Right now, Nabokov’s “Speak Memory.” It awakens my awarenesses.
What is your favorite poem/essay/book?
Isaac Babel’s “Red Cavalry,” stories by Babel who, when told to get more life experience by his mentor Maxim Gorky, spends some months as a reporter riding with the Cossack cavalry in 1918 Russia, and witnesses pogroms and other brutalities, while hiding his Jewish identity and his dismay. Babel was later shot by Stalin. Also, a brilliant and inspiring film from the New German Cinema movement, “Bagdad Cafe,” directed by Percy Adlon, set outside Las Vegas, NV.
What inspires you to write?
What are you reading right now?
The War of Art – a handy how-to on getting through walls.
What is your favorite sweet?
With my stories, I originally posted Coconut Squares, a recipe my mother saved for her Ort meetings. But when I actually made them, I couldn’t stop eating them – the sugar content sent me into a spiral- So, instead, I will recommend a recipe for Potato latkes, pictured here with Teddy Bear, whose story is also prominently featured in my screenplay. It can be served with applesauce or sweet jam and yoghurt (or sour cream), and is a great recipe these days if you happen to have a few potatoes and an egg left in the cupboard!
Thank you, Diane, for taking the time to reconnect with us. Congratulations on your awards. We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!
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