Breaking down the TWC wall with Cat .... yes ... Da Cat
Let me first say that I am honored to get the opportunity to interview you.
Breakingdownthetwcwall is a project we started to prove that there is no wall separating veteran writers of Tumblr and the newer writers from equal treatment or exposure.
Once we started this project and it got rolling we realized that so many writers want to help other writers, and then the interviews transitioned into a get to know who is who.
Well my dear…. We want to know the who, what, when, where and how’s about you.
Let’s start with the Wolfie rumors that say you are a Tumblr employee, a standup comedienne, a poetess, the feature tag mother of poetry and prose and a very photogenic young lady.
When did you start working at Tumblr? And can you enlighten us on the rest of the rumors?
Cat : Yes, I am a Tumblr employee, a comedienne, and a poetess. Mostly a photographer as of late, if I’m being honest.
And yeah, I’m photogenic I guess. But there are some hilariously terrible images of me floating around. And by floating around I mean hanging out in my GPOY tag…
Anyway, yeah, I was a relatively “known” local comedian in Richmond, Virginia before I moved to NYC. I’ve only done a few shows since moving, but the idea is always lingering somewhere in my head. I don’t think I’ll ever officially “quit” doing comedy shows, even if I go a really long time without performing.
I used to post poetry all the time in 2008 and 2009 and in bursts during the years that followed. If you look at my poetry tag postdates you’ll notice it comes and goes in phases. That’s the kind of writer I’ve always been. When I can’t write, I really can’t, and when I can, oh boy can I. It tends to center around how much poetry I read - when I read, I write. When I don’t read, I don’t write. Like right now for example - I’ve been reading David Wojahn’s Interrogation Palace and am super inspired - I think I’m about to break into another poetry-writing phase and I am so eager and optimistic to externalize some of my pent up insanity. You kids should take that as a lesson. Read some books. Read some e-books. Read poetry on Tumblr. Read all the poetry you can. Force other people to read poetry by writing it on your face in Sharpie and going out in public. Scream your favorite lines at strangers in Starbucks until they make you leave. Freak people out with poetry. Read poetry written on walls and then write your own there. Read and write poetry. Be a total fucking weirdo.
About my job at Tumblr - I started working here January 2012. It’s been more than two years now. Tumblr changed my life before I even applied for the job, and since then? I can’t even quantify the amazing opportunities I’ve had because of my employment here, and the realm of possibility that is now available to me. It’s not perfect, I don’t think any job is, but I still feel lucky even after two years. I grew up real poor with a single dad and other sad stuff like that, so I really can’t express how grateful I am that my life took an amazing turn.
Wolfie: You seem to be all kinds of caliber and a loaded pistol…
How did you become the poetry editor and how many doors did you have to knock down before you were able to get help to push the poetry tag to where it is?
Cat: When I first started working here, I expressed my love for poetry, and embarrassingly showed off my terrible teenage writing to our lit outreach coordinator, Rachel F. She added me as a tag editor. I felt on top of the fucking world when that happened. Tag editing is so cool. Tumblr is so cool.
Then, I noticed there was no poetry spotlight. I proposed that I make one, got the idea approved by the powers that be, lurked the hell out of the entire poetry community to find the superstars - and then spotlighted them on April 1st 2012 to celebrate national poetry month (http://cat.tumblr.com/post/20322182854/say-hello-to-tumblrs-first-poetry-spotlight-me) And…It’s all history since then. I became a helper in the community and was glad to do it. I eventually added more tag editors and more spotlighted blogs, and now the community is pretty self-sustaining. My baby has grown up. :’)
Wolfie: Indeed your baby is one well nurtured child and spreading like wildfire…. In the time I’ve been here it has grown substantially and I’m still kind of new here, compared to some.
Cat: Oh, also, under my care, the poetry tag grew to overtake vintage, black and white, and many others well-loved tags in popularity. The community was there, it just needs a little love.
Wolfie: We had a rally going to try and top nail art for a while there but it seems to keep getting the jump on us. Poetry that is …..
How can we help? I’m speaking of course for the writers here in the TWC … How can we move up the poetry tag on the ranking system?
Cat: We got rid of the ranking system so no worries.
Wolfie: so you are saying we were successful in knocking out nail art right?… lol
Cat: I think the last time I looked poetry was above nailart, yes.
But I cannot speak to their overall popularities in general or currently. I have no idea.
Wolfie: I think we are just going to roll with the Rumor that Poetry kicked the shit out of nail art and not ask any more questions on the subject Lol
Can you toss out some names of fellow writers that have made your Tumblr experience pleasant?
Cat: As far as great users, holy shit - there are a ton. Jen (jayarrarr) obviously - she was around before I was. I wasn’t the original guardian, she was. She was top editor for a REALLY long time and did outreach stuff with #poetry way before Me.; major credit to her. King Stimie (howitzerliterarysociety) is my accomplice and #poetry husband, I fucking love his style and he’s such a fucking weirdo and sends me links to GREAT work all the time… that dude is amazing… have been in touch with Jillc (trixclibrarian) a ton and she’s fucking great, brightlightsloudnoises came to see me at tumblr HQ once! that dude is great. tansheer and viperslang are two of my favorite writers, along with clementinevonradics (who doesn’t fucking love clem) and mostlyfiction!!!
To be honest, I can’t even name all the people that helped me find awesome bloggers and poetry back in the day. just too many to name. There was one girl who helped me constantly, and was my poetry community man-in-the-hole, we were super close but she insisted I never make her a tag editor or spotlight her. she just wanted to help me. attention made her nervous and she never wanted it. she was like my little sister. If she’s reading this, I hope she’ll message me. I haven’t heard from her in a while and can’t find her url now.
And I want to take this time to mention Elianna. When I found her blog, I was OBSESSED with her poetry. She was 16 and writing the stuff of legend. I couldn’t believe it. I was jealous. I was amazed. I was so impressed. She was my absolute favorite, and had an amazing personality and artfulness to match. I was devastated when I found out about her passing. I still miss her and will never forget her. I think there are a lot of Tumblr poets that would say the same.
Wolfie: that is a great list of people and I’ve come to really appreciate most of them… Elianna is certainly a beautiful soul and poetess and she is terribly missed and fondly remembered.
If you have read my previous interviews people usually cuss me out cause I ask them to name drop, and they can’t remember everyone at the exact time but I will always amend the list gladly
Wolfie: let’s go back to some of those Wolfie rumors that are being spread about you on Tumblr
Can you access our mail? (Ex. exchanges between Monkey and I while we talk about how hot you are?)
Cat: haha no, tumblr staff doesn’t have access to your inboxes. Hahahahaha
Wolfie: okay let’s do a quick run through on the next rumors and you can confirm or deny
Did yahoo buy you a brand new Escalade?
Cat: They bought me three new escalades.
Wolfie: Did you initiate the great flood of alt lit?
Cat: I wish. We provide the venue. The users decorate the walls. It was all you guys.
Wolfie: Do you care if the Monkey is really purple?
Cat: Literally still not sure what that’s all about.
Wolfie: Last and most wide spread rumor…. Do you have an idea who Wolfie is yet?
Cat: I thought Wolfie was your alter ego and that you guys are the same person. Am I wrong?
Wolfie: Thank you for taking the time to answer questions for breakingdownthetwcwall
And Yes Cat… Wolfie is me and Monkey is really purplemonkeysexgod69 ; which is a very well known and loved poet on Tumblr.
Good luck with everything you do at Tumblr as well as everything you do away from Tumblr .
Before we close, I really want you to know that we all appreciate what you have done here, and many others like myself have made this place home and it wouldn’t have been this way if it wasn’t for you and many others that have set the foundation.
Would you care to leave some words for all our readers, followers and participants?
Cat: I have a message for the younger people who feel inspired to do creative things but don’t know where or how to start.
A lot of you have the creative spark in but don’t know what to make or write, or where to even start. You need to know that creating (and writing) takes a lot of time, sometimes. I saw this quote on “shortandsweet“ and I think it fits nicely here.
You *have* to start somewhere. It’s SO important to be patient with yourself and to not beat yourself up for not being as productive and perfect as the people you see on the internet. A lot of people never start because they want to go straight to that amazeballs-fully-accomplished look. But that’s not how it works. You have to start small. Find a pace that works for you. Start with a silly fucking project, who cares. It could be any little thing. Write a poem on a piece of paper and then cut up the paper. Then take a photo of the pile of pieces. Boom! That’s a project. Fuck the scissors actually. Post the poem. Who cares? Any little weird things you can do are progress. Eventually you will take the projects more seriously, and then those will lead to opportunities and even more inspiration. You know? Creating things gives you a high - once you make or write one thing, it is easier to keep doing it because it feels amazing. Things will happen that you didn’t expect and it will feel great. You cannot make your specialness go away, and this drives a lot of people crazy. They can feel that they are special but don’t know how to externalize it or what to make, or even how to make it. My advice is to be patient, love yourself, and create whatever you can whenever you can. You will get better and better and people will recognize that. I’m 25 and have been writing since I can remember. I have no books out, have only been published in a few newspapers, and my poetry has only been published once. I’ve been wanting to take good photos for 3+ years and didn’t start taking photography seriously until last summer! There is always time to become the creative person you are dreaming of. Take the first step and then keep doing that until it feels natural to achieve. It will happen.
Wolfie: Thank you Cat and a big thanks to all our readers, followers and participants of breakingdownthetwcwall.
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