Writer Interview: Ivy Kaller


Ivy Kaller

When bubbly and out-going Ivy Kaller moved to Maui, she found herself in search of a writing group. When she couldn’t find one she created her own with the intention of receiving honest feedback for her work and in return offering honest feedback to her members. Now, six years on the group, The Collective Underground, has more than seventy members, who enjoy the support so much they keep going back! But Ivy says she couldn’t have done it without the beautiful Marina Galvan, who has been there from the start.


1.What are you working on right now?

Right now I am trying to get a head shot on the rooster that’s been waking me up at 4am every morning.
Marina Galvan and I just finished writing our book “Method Writing With The Collective Underground”. It’s about the writing process I’m teaching, and right now I’m working on expanding that process for my next book. Also The Collective Underground has mushroomed out to 70 students here on Maui, along with requests to participate from the mainland U.S.
So I am brainstorming ways to let everyone be involved who wants to be involved.

2. Can you tell us a little something about it?

The process is called Method Writing. It is like Method acting, but for the writer. A creative process generating words grounded in the human truth of the moment. I have established an experimental writing studio on Maui where I facilitate 20 students a day in this process. Using exercises that get you out of your head and into your gut.
I am also one of my students, so to speak.

3. Tell us, why do you write? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I write because every day brings a new carnival of emotions and human drama to town. A delicious panoply of tears, and lust, and death, and laughter, complete with dirty fingernails and sweaty underthings. If I don’t write it down it becomes vague memory and empty candy wrappers in the wind.
I write because I have to show up regarding my classes. That’s why I teach so I can learn and keep writing. My inspiration comes from my students, and the process.
I thoroughly enjoy the work.

4. When I write, I require Jaffa cakes (and lots of them), do you have a writing must-have?

I had to look up Jaffa cakes to see what your writing must-have is, and now I want one.
I enjoy writing with coffee, or wine, depending on the time of day. But really there is no must have. I write in bed, on the couch, out back at a bar, on the plane with drinks, or not, and never with food.
I dictate juicy phrases to my phone while I’m driving. And I am tempted to do so while having sex. I honestly can’t think of any time that I am NOT writing. So I guess the only requirement is that I have air to breath.

5. What is your favourite book?

I have many favourite books, but right now there are two that speak to me, and mostly that’s because they are written from the deep voice that I crave. They are The Man Who Fell In Love With The Moon by Tom Spanbauer. And The Chronology Of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch.

I’m sure I’ll have some new favourite books next week.

6. Which author’s career, alive or passed on, do you admire most, and why?

I love Charles Bukowski. He’s the first one who comes to me although there are many more. He lived life on his own terms. A hard drinker, hard living kind of guy. Rough, raw, and feels like a no holds barred fistfight on every page.
That’s a guy who bashed his own brains out every night and smeared the mess of it on paper for everyone to see.

7. Tell us something about yourself…an annoying habit or party trick perhaps? Can you speak a foreign language or have a hobby?

I laugh. I laugh at everything, and everyone. I am laughing at you right now. I think you’re funny. I think funerals are funny. And I don’t just politely giggle, I laugh out loud. My neighbours think there is a constant party at my house, but it’s usually just me laughing.
I get nasty looks from the people at the next table at the restaurant and my husband has to threaten to take their eyes out with a fork to get them to chill.
And I think that’s funny.

8. Do you have a blog, website or social networking account people can go to if they wish to learn more about you or your work?

You didn’t ask about my psychic powers but I guess we’ll leave that for another interview.
My blog and website are one and the same http://www.thecollectiveunderground.com
I’m also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – both under Ivy Kaller or The Collective Underground

9. What are your writing plans for 2015?

I plan to gather material; exercises, and examples, for my second edition of “Method Writing with the Collective Underground” while continuing deep exploration and reckless experimentation at my writers’ studio, and with my students.

10. And now, for the most important question of all: Jaffa cakes – love them or hate them?

I’ve never had Jaffa cakes but please describe one to me so I can taste it for myself and can give you my honest opinion.

To follow Ivy and her work please use the links below:

Website: http://www.thecollectiveunderground.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Collective-Underground/122558911256729
Twitter: https://twitter.com/isiswickett
Linked in: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/ivy-kaller/7/a87/482

It was awesome interviewing Ivy. She has such a bubbly personality and has created a writing group to be proud of. Thanks Ivy!