The University of Iowa

5Q Interview (UI Press 50th Edition): L.S. Gardiner

February 17, 2020

The Writing University conducts the 5Q Interview series with writers while they are in Iowa City participating in the various University of Iowa writing programs. We sit down with authors to ask about their work, their process and their descriptions of home.

This year, we are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the University of Iowa Press with a special editon of 5Q Interviews of UI Press authors.


Dr. L.S. Gardiner

Dr. L.S. Gardiner is a writer, scientist, illustrator, and educator who tries to make science palatable for everyone. She is the author of the award-winning book Tales from an Uncertain World: What Other Assorted Disasters Can Teach Us About Climate Change (UI Press, 2018), the illustrator of nine books for children, and creator of the Zika Zine. L.S. holds a BA in Geology from Smith College, a PhD in Geology from the University of Georgia, and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Goucher College.


1. Do you have a specific project that you will be working on this year?

I’m planning another book of essays based on ideas that were too off-topic for Tales from an Uncertain World. It’s exciting to circle back to these ideas, however, my currently chapter outline now contains too many ideas, so perhaps some of those will be deemed too off-topic and become a third book. I think this is the same way that bakers make sourdough bread using starter used in previous loaves.

 

2. What does your daily practice look like for your writing? Do you have a certain time when you write? Any specific routine?

I write most fluidly in the morning, especially if good sleep has left me feeling like it’s low tide in my brain – which is my term for when all sorts of interesting thoughts, ideas, and images are exposed, similar to how low tide at the beach exposes interesting creatures and shells.

During lulls in writing I draw concept maps to help me organize thoughts. I find this help me visualize a story and see connections between disparate ideas. I’m also an illustrator, so I love being able to seeing a story graphically.

 

3. What are you currently reading right now? Are you reading for research or pleasure?

For pleasure I’m reading A Field Guide to Getting Lost, by Rebecca Solnit and The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road, by Finn Murphy. I didn’t pair those two intentionally, but it’s interesting that they are both about roaming.

I’m always reading for research, but usually the rate at which I find research materials far outpaces my rate of reading. This leads to towering stacks of books and a bulging “to read” folder on my computer.

 

4. Tell us about where you are from -- what are some favorite details you would like to share about your home?

I currently live on the outskirts of Boulder, Colorado. Out the window on one side of my house, I can see prairie dogs scuttling about. Out the window to the opposite side, I can see human neighborhoods. I like living on the line between wild and human-built. It makes me feel like I have a foot in both camps.

 

5. The UI Press is turning 50 this year! Share with us a bit about your experience and relationship with the press.

I’m quite honored that the University of Iowa Press is the publisher of Tales from an Uncertain World: What Other Assorted Disasters Can Teach Us About Climate Change. I will forever be grateful to the editors there. I’d get off the phone with one of them and be energized to write and polish my prose. Everyone at the Press has been incredibly helpful and they designed a brilliant cover for the book, which is, I’m sure, how some judge it.


Thank you L.S.!

Dr. L.S. Gardiner is a writer, scientist, illustrator, and educator who tries to make science palatable for everyone. She is the author of the award-winning book Tales from an Uncertain World: What Other Assorted Disasters Can Teach Us About Climate Change (UI Press, 2018), the illustrator of nine books for children, and creator of the Zika Zine. L.S. holds a BA in Geology from Smith College, a PhD in Geology from the University of Georgia, and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Goucher College.

**

Established in 1969, the University of Iowa Press serves scholars, students, and readers throughout the world with works of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. As the only university press in the state, Iowa is also dedicated to preserving the literature, history, culture, wildlife, and natural areas of the Midwest. The UI Press is a place where first-class writing matters, whether the subject is Whitman or Shakespeare, prairie or poetry, memoirs or fandom. They are committed to the vital role played by small presses as publishers of scholarly and creative works that may not attract commercial attention. For more information, please e-mail uipress@uiowa.edu.

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