Rachel Resnick is the author of the Los Angeles Times bestseller Go West Young F*cked-Up Chick and Love Junkie. She has published articles, essays, and celebrity-profile cover stories in the Los Angeles Times, Women's Health, and BlackBook, The Time of My Life, Damage Control, The Dictionary of Failed Relationships, The Best American Erotica 2004, Women on the Edge, L.A. Shorts, and Absolute Disaster. She is also a contributing editor at Tin House magazine. Resnick is the founder and CEO of Writers on Fire, provider of luxury writing retreats both in the United States and abroad.
Question: What made you start Writers on Fire?
Rachel Resnick: That was totally a gift of being in recovery, ‘cause once again all that vitality and focus and energy that I’ve been putting in to finding the one, the mythical one, not settling, finding the ideal impossible person, I was finally able to start channeling into things that were creative including businesses, why not start my own business. I don’t like working for other people. I like my freedom. It doesn’t have to be just the way of manifesting and acting out my love addiction and I really I’m not too interested in hanging out `in dorms and classrooms anymore. We already did that, you know. So, I’m like there must be other people who would prefer to write in another country or in a castle or some fabulous setting. How can I fuse all these elements? And I really do enjoy teaching but I like teaching in a very concentrated way where one of the things that I’m known for goes back to being interested in psychoanalysis and trying to figure out the parents and everyone early on. I love trying to inspire people of psychological breakthroughs, because usually people are just in their own way, and without fail in 5 minutes, people who write in class exercise which is extraordinarily vibrant, but when they go home to write the chapter or the story [unfeelingly] comes back, and it’s like, ay, you know, let it and you know, they’re trying too hard and I’m like let’s do another 5 minute exercise. So, it’s very exciting to have that [concentrating] and you just, people get so tired and driven that sometimes, you know, something really build breakthrough and that’s the most exciting thing, and then when it’s in another foreign setting, a castle and friends, it seems to happen even better.
Question: Can you describe a moment of intense inspiration?
Rachel Resnick: There’s an element of masochism, I think, for all artist and writers, especially writers, it’s not, I was just talking about how one way to heal from love addiction is to interact with other people and have a healthy relationships. When you’re by yourself writing, you’re isolated, so you’re cutting yourself off from people to some degree to get the work done. The memoir, which I think it’s important to bring up because I had never written a memoir and it’s much maligned right now, we’ve had so many people making things up and fabricating and something was supposed to be a novel, [tat-ta-ra]. I found that to be an extraordinary experience of creating concept breakthroughs because I was at pains to write vivid scenes but also draw insights. Valentines, the night before Valentines, good time for a love junkie, come home from teaching, I had a bird at that time who happened to be a rescue bird, who was kind of homicidal, so even the pets I chose were kind of abusive, it was excellent, yes. It’s a big scarlet Macau. Quiet, the bird was quiet. I walked in and some things are off, something’s off, I can’t figure out. But then I walked in my office, the computer is out, the computer is always on, it was like my, you know, console where everything happens. My brain is kind of an extension there, and especially at this point, I was very on the edge financially, it’s where I made my living, it was how I communicate with people. And there is water leaking from the hard drive. “What the hell is going on?” And then I looked to my left and I saw a boot mark, so I’m like my ex-boyfriend I knew had broken in, he… he’s a computer guy, he knew how to short circuit the computer, he’d gone right for the jugular and I owed him some money, by the way. This is one of my next memoir, it would be about problems with money value and worth, but, you know, that doesn’t, okay, yeah. That was a wake-up call. That was a wake-up call. Now, I’m spacing. I’m so into that. I had a breakthrough. I had trouble finding compassion for this guy. Now, by the way, as soon as that happened, I started calling my friend, I was so freaked out, I called a girl friend for support and I said, “Maybe there’s something wrong with me?” Now, she was supposed to say, “There’s nothing wrong with you, you’re perfect, you just haven’t found the right guy. This guy is an asshole, blah, blah, blah.” Instead she said, “Maybe there is something wrong with you.” And this is what prompted me to go seek help.