An interview with Christine Valters Paintner

Name: Christine Valters Paintner

Resident of Galway, Ireland

Place of birth: New York City, NY, USA

4 bums on a rugby goalpost

Why do you write?

I write because I have to. I feel compelled. It is how I understand the world. Writing for me is a process of discovery and a way of paying close attention to it, of being a witness to beauty and sorrow. 

What do you write about?

My primary vocation, in addition to writer, are theologian and philosopher. I love asking big questions about life, but looking for answers in the small and ordinary moments.

When do you write?

I am not very regimented, preferring a much more fluid and organic approach to life in general. However, I do love morning time for journal writing which is where the seeds for all my poems happen. A whole day open to write is sheer gift, I love spaciousness.   

Who do you read/ take inspiration from? 

For poetry, I make time most mornings to read from poets whose work I love like Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Rainer Maria Rilke, Barbara Crooker, and Ellen Bass. 

How do you write? 

I write most mornings by hand in my journal. If a poem is formed it goes to the computer where I edit. Most of my prose is written on the computer. 

You’re going to release your first Album, what would it be called?

Sound and Stillness (I actually just released an album of me reading my poems accompanied by music, more details at the link)

You could be anything other than a writer, what would you be?

Herbalist, I am in awe of the diversity of medicine the natural world provides and the sensual array of colors and scents.

Why are manhole covers round?

Life has so many sharp edges, circles remind us of the wholeness of things. 

What would your autobiography be called?

My Life Mit Schlag (Mit Schlag means “with whipped cream” in German) 

You can claim one piece of art as your own work, what would it be and why?

The Tree of Life from Gustav Klimt’s Stoclet Frieze. The spiral design in gold evokes a connection for me to something cosmic and wondrous at the heart of things. 

You’re on death row, what would your last meal be?

Steak, pepper sauce, potatoes au gratin, red wine, and chocolate mousse 

(my favorite meal when I go on a date night to Rouge, our local French restaurant)

What was the last piece of music you listened to?

A sung version of the Prayer of St Francis by musician Simon de Voil 

(https://simondevoil.com/track/976532/prayer-of-st-francis

When did you last go to a live sporting event, what was it?

A Yankee game in college 30 years ago

If interviewed what would your pet say about you?

“I am her muse.” 

You can invent an App, what would it do?

An App that could handle every admin detail of my life. 

Describe yellow to someone who is blind in 50 words

The taste of lemons, the scent of sunflowers, the feeling of warm light on my face after many rainy days, the sound of laughter.

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