Amena talks with blogger, author, and writer Alia Joy about her new book Glorious Weakness: Discovering God in All We Lack. Alia talks about her transition from blog writing to book writing and why it’s important to write about the narrative and experience of poverty. Alia shares advice on how to walk alongside a loved one who lives with mental illness and how to practice creativity recovery when we write about vulnerable things. To learn more about Alia and order her book, visit: https://aliajoy.com/
Alia Joy is an author and speaker who shares poignantly about her life with bipolar disorder as well as grief, faith, marriage, poverty, race, embodiment, and keeping fluent in the language of hope. Sushi is her love language and she balances her cynical idealism with humor and awkward pauses. She lives in Central Oregon with her husband, her tiny Asian mother, her three kids, a dog, a bunny, and a bunch of chickens.
Alia’s Patheos column: The Fluency of Hope
She Did That Award: Alia’s mom
Questions we didn’t get to on the show:
Kathy from Twitter: Can you list your favorite Korean American women and what would you eat with all of them?
Alia’s answer: I can! My favorite Korean American women would have to include my mom and daughter and we’d be eating sushi because it’s my favorite, or if it was home cooking, my mom’s fried rice.
Then I’ve got to give a shoutout to Kathy Khang, Tasha Burgoyne, and Grace P. Cho, who are my #kimchisisterhood. They sustain me on Voxer when being a Korean American woman writing in a largely white dominant industry is… trying. Also, they are all talented writers and speakers and they make me braver. I also have great respect for Helen Lee and the work she does at IVPress to market thoughtful quality books written by POC, even though I’ve never met her. And I’d eat anything if I got to be with them in person and share a meal but if it’s in my dreams it’d be Korean food and I’d order bibimbap or Kimchi Jjigae and we’d all share banchan and laugh way too much.
Jenny from Twitter: What authors, poets, essayists, etc influence your writing life?
Alia’s answer: So many! I can’t possibly name them all because I read a ton. I primarily read fiction and memoir so my influences tend to be novelists. I’ve been most heavily influenced by Mary Karr, Amy Tan, Jesmyn Ward, Anne Lamott, Bryan Doyle, Mary Oliver, John Blase, Marilynne Robinson (her novels, not her essays-her essays are too smart for my brain), Brennan Manning, Sandra Cisneros, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, James Herriot, Kent Haruf, Louise Erdrich, Henry Nouwen, Dorothy Day, Leif Erikson, Maya Angelou, Jane Kenyon, Ted Kooser, WS Merwin, I could go on and on and on.
Everything I read influences my writing life, even if I think it’s bad writing, at least I’m learning what not to do. Language needs to be ingested regularly to produce anything worthwhile. If you’re not gobbling down and savoring words on a regular basis, your work will come out anemic and limp. You want red-blooded words, robust and hearty and ready to work for you. You only get that from reading wide.
Margaret from Twitter: Favorite taco?
Grilled fish street tacos with tomatillo jalapeño salsa, they’re so spicy, they melt my face off while I eat them. It’s heaven.
Vivian from Twitter: Favorite Lipstick?
MAC Lady Danger but Ruby Woo is a close second. Red lips make me feel brave. I actually have an essay in a book called Everbloom that is an ode to Mac’s Lady Danger. And NYX- lips gloss in LONDON. It’s brown but not like a ’90s 90210 brown complete with over-lined lips.
Vivian from Twitter: A writing tip or practice?
When I get super stuck, I read my thesaurus and look for words I’d like to play with. I once wrote an entire essay because I wanted to use the word corrosive. For more writing tips, you can check out this Patheos article I wrote.