Unpacking the mind of Peter V. Kahle
Today Dreamwalks takes a walk with author Peter Kahle.
Peter will be joining this year’s faculty for the Full-Bodied Writing Retreat, “Entering the Heart of Your Story,” June 28-30. (Currently 1 space left. Sign up Here or add your name to the waitlist. More info below.)
Photo Andrew Bond in pirate hat, Peter and his wife, Lani, and moi speechifying at Dragonswood Book Party
Peter Kahle is the author of Passage of the Kissing People, Naked at the Podium, and two retellings from Shakespeare--A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Tempest (refashioned with narration and description to read like a novel without losing the Elizabethan flair).
Peter answered a few choice questions for author/retreat coordinator Katherine Grace Bond. Here’s the interview along with a few extra bits and a few photos.
- What are three of your favorite things about your work?
Working with Shakespeare taught me the joy of language, the importance of sound, and feel. Taking a place, or a subject I love and making it a character in a story gives me great satisfaction, because of the authenticity it brings to the work. Finding stories of relationships, of family, of forgiveness and creation, stories of broken people trying to build whole lives. Plus I feel like God on the Seventh Day when I finish a first draft.
- What made you want to do what you do?
When I was 7, I broke my left elbow and ended up in the hospital for 3 weeks. In traction, In a men’s ward with no TV. Books saved me and made me fall in love with reading. In my mid-thirties, divorced, unemployed, my brother challenged me to decide: what was the most important thing I wanted to do with my life. I began to write a novel. I read voraciously, trying to see what moved me most. In The Bone People, I found a challenge to face big questions that I have striven to answer ever since.
- What is “full-bodied” about creativity? In other words, how would you connect what you do with writing and other creative processes?
I worked for stained glass designers for almost twenty years. There was a terrific physical component to it, and I could build anything, but I lacked the design creativity myself. When I write, I act out the words, as Shakespeare showed me. Performance reading, if you will. With physical scenes, I sometimes physically act them out.
- What’s a book you’ve read—recently or a long time ago–that delighted you?
I have read books that moved me profoundly, fascinated me, tantalized me, punished me, but for delight, I have one from childhood, one from my approach to writing, and one recent fancy. The writing in each of them is delightful, while they are as different as chalk, cheese, and chowder.
Cannery Row for the way the characters and the setting play together, for the delicate nature of the stories, the use of interlinked vignettes, and for the premise—“That Doc’s an awful nice guy. I should do something for him.”
As a child, The Wind in the Willows captivated by the use of animal characters in human settings, the gentle humor of Rat and Mole juxtaposed with the wild hijinks of Toad. To return to it now, I see a tale of friendship that has stood the test of time. As A.A. Milne said, it is the sort of book that as you are reading it, it is reading you.
Thief of Time delights because of the flights of fancy, the snarky humor, and brilliant insight. Who knew the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the Beatles had so much in common?
Quick Retreat Facts:
- faculty includes Katherine Grace Bond, Janet Lee Carey, Andrew Bond, and Peter Kahle
- thought-provoking craft sessions
- manuscript critique
- gourmet meals by Chef Tracy
- stunning views
- a healing massage by Rene Pinkham, LMP, or a choice of massage or wellness consult with Dr. James Drake, LMP, ND.
The Retreat has one opening left. Check it out and Register Here
If it’s already full, email (founder at epicwrite dot org) to add your name to the waitlist or
check us out next summer.
Peter V.T. Kahle is the author of Passage of the Kissing People, Naked at the Podium, and two retellings from Shakespeare--A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Tempest (refashioned with narration and description to read like a novel without losing the Elizabethan flair). He studied writing at the University of Washington with National Book Award winner Charles R. Johnson. He is a past president of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, a member of Seattle Free Lances and a founder of the Collective Wheee! He lives in the Greenwood district of Seattle with his wife and an imaginary monkey.