Amanda England lives in Maryland and has had work published most recently in The Orange Room Review, Amoskeag, The New Plains Review, and The Foundling Review, and was nominated for a 2011 Best of the Net award. When not writing, she serves on The Hedge Apple reading committee and moderates a peer critique group.
Amoskeag: The 2012 issue has come to be known as the “Identity” issue; in what way does your work deal with “identity?”
Amanda: “A Letter to My Father” explores how individual and shared memories shape identity. When memories that serve as a cornerstone for our personalities come into question, what does that leave us with? It’s a thought provoking question that I wanted to explore.
Amoskeag: In developing your main and supporting characters, how do you see them losing or finding themselves?
Amanda: Alice’s life is in transition. She’s moved away from her family for the first time and has to view the world alone. She is struggling with a past she cannot completely remember while trying to form new bonds with family. Even in our modern life, where family has much less power than it has in other times and places, the ties of blood are strong. Alice, by questioning her identity, is finding parts of herself in a family she isn’t very familiar with.
Amoskeag: What is the one line, the one sentence in your piece that for you sums up the meaning of “identity?”
Amanda: I’m sure this is paraphrased from many other, greater writers–Dickens’ “tell it slant” comes to mind, but “Everything I write is truth, and all of it is fiction” strikes to the heart of identity. Who you are depends on what truths you chose to believe about yourself and what truths you choose to reveal to others.
Amoskeag: How do you identify yourself as a writer — how did you get here? Who/what made you so? Where have you come from? What have you gone through?
Amanda: I’ve always been a writer, although it’s taken a lot of coaxing for me to realize it. I started by writing poetry, and though I rarely write it now, I feel that my beginnings in poetry lent a very lyrical style to my prose. For some characters, that’s an appropriate voice–for others, it takes a lot of work to get past. I think the biggest struggle I’ve faced in developing my identity as a writer is the audacity of it all. We read these life changing works of art and think, “I can do that!” One of the first poems I had published addressed this–the line “I build houses with the bones of dead poets” sums it up well.
Amoskeag: What lies ahead for you?
Amanda: For now, finishing my Bachelor’s degree in English and moving on to graduate work. Writing is my passion, but I’m still vacillating between getting my MFA so that I can write and teach English and writing, or pursuing another career path and writing on the side. I get excited by many things, so it’s hard to make a firm decision. Whatever I chose, I know I’ll be writing.