In this episode I talk with Liz Stephens, one of Under the Gum Tree’s previous contributors. Liz is currently growing the Mojave Desert Arts project, a residency and workshop space outside Joshua Tree, California. Recent work can be found in the anthologies Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction and Dirt: A Love Story. Other work can be found in Fourth Genre and, among others. She has served as managing editor of Brevity, and teaches nonfiction with the UCLA Extension Writer’s Program and through private workshops and retreats. Liz’s essay “Because Faint Glitter Came Off Everything” appears in the April 2017 issue of Under the Gum Tree.


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In this episode we talk about:

  • The difference between journaling and crafting true stories for an audience
  • How writing creative nonfiction has taught Liz the craft and structure needed for returning to writing fiction
  • Being in transition as an adult and part of the artistic class
  • How places are created, whether people shape the place or place shapes the people
  • Living in the desert and choosing to stay in a place that’s more difficult to live
  • The inconvenience of wanting something that isn’t easy
  • Paying attention to surroundings as a way to occupy an over-thinking mind
  • An artist residency that Liz is working on starting called the Mojave Desert Arts
  • Visit Liz online at, and follow her on Instagram at @doc_stephens

Visit us online at and visit Under the Gum Tree at Follow Under the Gum Tree Twitter and Instagram @undergumtree. Follow me on Twitter @justjanna and @jannamarlies on Instagram. Find out about my 6-week email audio course at

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