Inside the mind of a 'hybrid' novelist

Writing was a part of her life from an early age. But as a teenager, California State University, Northridge English professor Katharine Haake began to think she did not have what it took to become a writer. She stopped writing for five years and decided to become an English professor.

While attending college, Haake was suddenly inspired to take a class in creative writing. Two of her classmates had told her that they also thought they were not good enough to become writers, which she was able to relate to at the time.

“Art happens in the process of mistakes we make when doing what we don’t know how to do,” said Haake last Tuesday at the Santa Monica College Literary Series lecture titled, "Habits of Dreaming: Writing Into the Future."

According to the SMC Literary Series events page, Haake is now a novelist and short story writer who once chaired the creative writing program at CSUN and received an Individual Artist's Grant from the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Los Angeles.

During the lecture, Haake read two of her unpublished short stories, "Word Protest" and "Some Time After," both of which she referred to as parables of meditation in the form of hybrid novels.

“Hybrid novels braid together fiction, nonfiction, natural history, family history, California water history and mediation fun writing,” she said.

The intersection of fact and fiction, which Haake said is writing a narrative without being able to distinguish between fact and fiction, was more interesting for her.

However, Haake said she is never happy with the result of her writing. She explained that she tells her students that they know if they have succeeded when they read a text after a long while and are happily surprised by their work.

Haake said that in order for fiction to maintain a vital writing art form in the 21st century, the writer ought to apply historical moments in a narrative.

After years of experimenting with different styles of writing, Haake said she does not only stick to one style of writing, but instead plays with and combines styles depending on her state of mind, which she defined as a meditative style of writing.

"The Time of Quarantine" is Haake’s latest book, an eco-fable about a boy who was raised by computers in the woods at the end of the world.

Sara Cheshm MishiComment