#BrokenAsides with Kelli Lage


When did you first feel like a writer?

I’ve felt like a writer since I was a child. It’s something that has always lived within me. The first poem I can recall writing acknowledged the existence and fascination I found in yellow flowers. As I got older, I felt I needed to accomplish something to be deemed a true writer. However, when imposter syndrome creeps up, I remember yellow flowers.

What’s the most interesting thing that has inspired your writing and what was the result?

The most interesting thing that has happened in my life was meeting a man at a laser tag party, falling in love immediately, and eloping after six weeks. The elopement ceremony in and of itself is a story for the decades. Marrying Ryan has prompted a plethora of poems about genuine love. My future plans include writing out our entire off-the-wall, perfect for us, gets laughs at the naive parts, love story. With all the details and intricate pieces, I could see it forming into a chapbook.

Paint us a picture: what does your writing process look like? Do you write in coffee shops at night or only on an old type-writer?

My writing process is sporadic. I live and see as much as I can. When a phrase rattles around in my head, I write it down on the notes app on my phone for later. If I have the time when a poem stirs within me, I’ll jump right to my journal or computer. I have no rhyme or reason to my process. I let the poems come naturally and write when I feel called to.

Describe your ideal reader: who would your work speak to?

I write on a variety of topics such as love, hope, healing, mental health, family, friendship, and trauma. There is so much of myself and life’s highs and lows within my work. I hope anyone who needs a friend during their own period of highs and lows will find comfort and a sense of belonging within my work.

Who’s an author you’ve changed your mind about and why?

In high school, I struggled to read Shakespeare. As it became tough, I found myself giving up. I used SparkNotes to get through my English classes. Now, as a future English teacher, I’ve found meaning in Shakespeare’s work as an adult. I’ve had engaging and passionate professors that helped create connections to his work for me. I plan to create the same kind of learning environment for my future students so they can find meaning in his work. I recently wrote a poem in which the speaker is both of Lady MacBeth’s hands. I am currently searching for a home for it.

If you could interview any other writer/artist, who would it be and why?

If I could interview a writer, it would be Mary Oliver because she was the first poet to speak to me. I know I can find Oliver interviews out in the world, however, I think it would be beautiful to sit down in her presence and share in the world around us, together. I’d love to hear from Oliver’s mouth what she sees and feels of the natural world at that moment, what I could stand to recognize. I try to recognize the precious moments she wrote about in my own life.

What motivates you to keep writing?

If I stopped writing, my brain would constantly be buzzing. Writing allows me to process my thoughts and reflect. If it weren’t for writing, I would have never delved into my inner thoughts and who I am as a person. After I began sharing my writing, I was overjoyed at the sense of community. I’m also motivated to continue writing in hopes of creating a space within my poems where readers can kick their heels up, cry, scream, laugh, whatever they need to do.

How do you deal with writer’s block or being overwhelmed by the writing process? 

I’ve been stricken by writer’s block many times. Sometimes, in this state, I think “what if I am all out of poems?” Then I remember poems are living around me. I take a break and find the poetry in what surrounds me; nature, students, friends, my husband, and anything else I haven’t stopped to consider or sit with lately. Usually taking a break and refocusing is where I find the right words to express myself and can catch a thought by the string of a balloon. After that, writing feels natural again.

Where would you like to see yourself in a decade? A creative writing teacher? As a best-seller? 

God willing, in a decade, I see myself looking back on my first and forthcoming book, Early Cuts. I’ll re-read it and find the woman who wrote it within the pages. I’ll ask her questions, and see what answers she left for me. I hope that I’ll find homes for other books I’ve finished and written many more books along with meaningful and engaging pieces. I will still be teaching English in the secondary setting; igniting a love of reading and writing within students. My husband Ryan and I will celebrate 17 years of marriage. We will still be content with the joy found in a farmhouse and trusty Labrador.

What has your work taught you about yourself?

Writing has taught me that I am capable of healing, growth, and using my voice; not only that but my voice matters. I believe everyone does and that all have something important to say. Finding a community of writers has put me in touch with work by so many wonderful poets. I’ve learned to slow down and listen to what others have to say. I hope that through writing I am always learning, reflecting, and making peace with my thoughts.

Related Blog Posts