Author Spotlight: Elizabeth R. McClellan

How does inspiration strike you?

Inspiration strikes anywhere. This poem is drawn directly from life, probably more directly than any of my recent work: my old house was on the edge of a development where the developer had planted the border of trees between the development and the land on the other side badly, to maximize lot size, so these crappy trees and wicked underbrush at the back of my property that had been planted on an incline too close together were growing into my fence and making it painful and difficult to recover my white dog who was determined to go under the fence into the thicket even if she scratched herself up doing it. I built up a lot of actual resentment toward that space, and one day when I started talking about the trash trees I thought of them as dryads instead, ones who never had a chance because the developers didn't care about environmental issues they were creating when they planted that mess. This led into the many resentments against suburbia; the Bradford pears those developers selected for people's yards because they look pretty are terrible allergens and the trees are prone to break and fall on stuff at the slightest provocation. I didn't end up salting that tree. I felt too bad once I thought of it as having a soul. More broadly, I get a lot of my first lines from the @notaleptic bot on Twitter. Inspiration is everywhere if you're in the right frame of mind.

Where do you see magic in everyday life?

Magic is throughout everyday life. It's thinking about dryads in suburbia and huldras in big cities, it's AI generated art of space dolphins, it's dreaming awake. As a domestic and sexual violence attorney I get a full dose of cold hard reality every day. Watching out for the whimsical and wonderful and letting my mind play in my down time is part of how I keep doing what I do. My whole job is to break bad spells with arcane rituals, after all.


Elizabeth R. McClellan is a domestic and sexual violence attorney by day and a poet in the margins. Their work has appeared in Girls Who Love Monsters, Utopia Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, Dreams and Nightmares, Illumen Magazine, Rejection Letters and many others. They are a disabled gender/queer demisexual poet writing on unceded Quapaw and Chikashsha Yaki land. Follow them on Twitter @popelizbet or on Patreon at ermcclellan.