Mollie Russell in the spotlight Lucent Dreaming interview

Mollie Russell in the spotlight

Tonight we put the spotlight on Mollie Russell, whose poem ‘Echolalia: Researching the Frankenstein Stage Play’ is published in issue 10 of Lucent Dreaming. You can watch and listen to the author read the piece on YouTube.

So, what inspired your piece ‘Echolalia: Researching the Frankenstein Stage Play’’? Can you tell us a little more about what it’s about?

The poem is inspired by the 2011 theatre production of Frankenstein. I’d recently read some old interviews where Benedict Cumberbatch discusses autism generally and explains that he based his portrayal of Frankenstein’s monster on the mannerisms of autistic people. As an autistic woman who saw a lot of herself in Mary Shelley’s original characters growing up, this struck a chord with me. I had a lot of conflicting feelings about autistic behaviours being used to portray monstrosity, and I found the interviews, while outdated and probably well-intentioned, to be quite hurtful. The poem is the result of me processing these feelings: just as autism became a tool in Cumberbatch’s acting toolbox, I used the actor as a metaphor for the systemic treatment of autistic people. 

What are some of your favourite books and art (including shows, videos, music) – of all time or more recently. Why are they favourites?

It’s probably not a shock to say that Frankenstein is one of my favourite books, and it has been since I was 12 years old. I read a lot of gothic and horror fiction when I’m not reading poetry, and my music tastes range from death metal to my all-time favourite singer Nick Cave. My favourite poetry collection I’ve read recently is Be Feared by Jane Burn. Jane has a grasp on rhythm I could only dream of imitating, and her language is precise and idiosyncratic without feeling forced or conceited. Jane’s also a fellow neurodivergent!

What, if anything, are you looking forward to right now and are there any writing/creative projects you’re currently working on?

I had a bit of a writing hiatus in the latter half of 2021 in order to recharge, so I’m looking forward to getting back into a regular writing routine. I’m currently tidying up a few older poems with the hopes of sharing them in a university alumni anthology, and I’ve got plans to start writing a series or pamphlet of poems soon rather than standalone pieces. Expect more work from me on autism, feminism – and Frankensteins!

Can you tell us about how you got into writing and art? Is there anyone whose support or encouragement really inspired or motivated you?

I’ve been creating art since I was very young. In primary school, I knew I wanted to be a writer (apart from a brief two week period where I decided that being a dentist might be more realistic. Now I think training for dentistry sounds like blooming hard work!). I’d like to give particular thanks to my A level Creative Writing teacher, Martina Bartlett. I wrote my first ever poems in her class, and she was the first person to really encourage me to share what I wrote with the world. 

Where can people see more of you and your work?

You can find all information about where and what I publish on my twitter, @SpookySyntax. 

Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine of surreal writing and art, and publisher of emerging authors and artists worldwide. Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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