DOWN RABBIT HOLES WITH NAICHE LIZZETTE PARKER
I first stumbled upon Naiche on Tumblr, through a friend of mine who had told me that the girl writes really well – which was probably the understatement of the year. She had a game going with her followers – they would send her their names and she would write a few sentences about what they reminded her of. When she did mine upon request (after she had already ended the whole thing), I was completely taken by her words and now, a couple of years later, her writing still amazes me. Naiche is one of those few but precious people who possess the rare gift of being able to take something completely mundane and, with their words, transform it into something magical. She once recommended a song to me, telling me I have to listen to it because (and I quote) ‘it’s currently playing in her bones’. In a sea of teenagers and young adults that have the ability romanticise just about anything in ordinary ways, Naiche, 22, does that extraordinarily. So it comes as no surprise that she already has two self-published works out in the world. She hadn’t always dreamed of being a writer, she tells me. “When I was younger, I bounced around the most bizarre career dreams: ballerina, doctor, summer camp director… But writing was always the common thread. I was more interested in blocking the stage and writing the story than being a dancer; more interested in my clipboard and medical histories of my imaginary patients than studying science; and way more interested in writing up camp day itineraries and having faux phone conversations with “parents” about my “campers” than actually…running a summer camp. It was always about the story, and that’s something I hold with me still. It’s always about the story.” Her work hadn’t always been public; she’d kept diaries over the years, jotting down ideas, prose and poems until one day she decided to create a Tumblr account where she’d post her poetry. That account has since been left in the past, but she still remembers the surprise of one of her poems becoming popular on the page. “Writing is such an incredible tool because it allows an escape from reality, but it also makes that reality more bearable. When you’re young and just starting out, it’s as simple as a magic carpet ride to a fantasy world when your parents are fighting or the bullies are inching in. There, the bullies are ogres and your words are a sword, and in at least one corner of your life, you get to win. Writing saved my life that way. As you gain a readership, you become this train conductor to these other worlds and you’re responsible for the trip you’re taking your readers on, aiding in their escape and grasp on reality, too. With a single stanza or entire saga, you can battle an entire presidential administration, explain heartbreak, or just try and get through the day.” And it was an anonymous follower on her current Tumblr account that had encouraged her to self-publish – that provided that little push she had needed to put out Paper and Bones, her first book of poetry, clad in white with the cover depicting a silhouette of a girl, framed by leaves and flowers representing the forests that she loves to escape to whenever she gets the chance. Her most recent work, Rabbit Holes is a complete contrast to it, with its pitch black covers and white motives. Paper and Bones, she tells me, embodies the escapism of girlhood in a way that is Naiche’s own – whereas Rabbit Holes is womanhood made ink on paper, falling into life itself. “It is the notion that everything must break before blossoming,” as reads the back cover of the book. The Latina who grew up in the Bronx now roams the streets of Brooklyn and always sees the world through writer’s glasses. “Over the years, it’s become less about the challenge of seeking out inspiring things and more of finding inspiration in everything I come across. I don’t believe that there’s a single thing you can’t transform into writing material if you try hard enough. They say to write what you know, but for me, it’s about exercising the brain and widening the imagination enough to write what I don’t. Political turmoil, the man snoring on the bus wearing an antique watch, the way that building catches the light, the brave thing your younger brother once said…there’s something in everything. You just have to see the potential in everything.” Her motivation to write comes from the people who have told her that she can. “I have a great family who for the most part encourages my writing as a real career. I’ve built a beautiful and supportive online community of readers and friends over the years, who don’t need to show me the love that they do but do it anyway on their own time. It always stuns me. I have this dream that keeps me going…I want to write a novel that’s at least one person’s favourite. I want to write a book that keeps one person up under their covers at night. I just know that this is what I’m supposed to do.” And her motto? “You are always exactly where you need to be. When I began to think that way, nothing ever felt like failure – just an unexpected pit stop that probably saved you from a worse storm.”
You can find Naiche on Instagram and Twitter (@naichelizzette), Tumblr (crooked-queen.tumblr.com) and her webpage coming soon (naichelizzette.com) and her books at https://www.createspace.com/6153223, https://www.createspace.com/7096071.
Text: Maja Podojsteršek; Photos: Naiche Lizzette Parker