Treefort performer and storyteller Katie Lotz reflects on the experiences that shape her work

Katie Lotz, Treefort 10, 2022, Storyfort
Photo by Julianne Gee

On the Treefort website, Katie Lotz’s bio reads, “Katie … enjoys writing relatively sad essays and performing relatively funny stand-up comedy.” Her reading at the undergrad student showcase at Storyfort questioned the necessity of the word “relatively.” The audience cried and laughed at her reading at the showcase. 

Katie Lotz is a 21-year-old Boise State narrative arts major who was featured at Storyfort this year and last year. Her artistic works reflect on self-acceptance, sexuality and identity among other topics. 

“Writing about sexuality was something that I wrote a lot about my sophomore year of college when I started writing for Sunstroke … I wasn’t comfortable putting myself in it yet,” Lotz said.

Lotz has written for Utah-based magazine Sunstroke for about two years. Her column “Losing It” focused on sex education and other similar topics. The articles range from talking about consent to sex in the digital sphere, but her writing has taken new turns since her start at Sunstroke. 

Katie Lotz, Treefort 10, 2022, Storyfort
[Katie Lotz performs a piece at Guru Donuts for Storyfort at Treefort 10, March 2022.]
Photo by Julianne Gee | The Arbiter

Lotz has experimented with stand-up comedy, fiction and poetry. She talked about how she enjoys both writing and speaking, but says: “I articulate myself better on paper.”

When talking about entering into stand-up comedy, Lotz added, “I just love attention,” with a playful laugh. 

Last fall, Lotz performed some of her stand-up comedy at Mad Swede Brew Hall. Lotz posted the routine on Instagram to her 1000 followers and many commented with praises. 

“You are definitely made to do comedy! Incredible,” one commenter said.

“Couldn’t stop watching or laughing,” another wrote. 

Her performance at the Undergrad Showcase was just as compelling, albeit more serious. After Lotz had finished, she was approached by many of the people attending the event. More than a few of them had tears in their eyes. 

At the undergrad showcase, Katie read “Reflections from the Shore,” a personal essay reflecting on her experiences of sexuality and self-acceptance. After she finished her reading, there was a pause for processing then the entire room clapped. Her work hasn’t always been so personal, though.  

“Something I’m still navigating and overcoming is writing about personal experiences, and deciding what part of the experiences are mine to share,” Lotz said, “Because I think, [for example], in terms of coming out, that was something I didn’t write about for a while because my partner wasn’t out to their family.”

Lotz is always trying new things, though. When reflecting on how she got involved with Storyfort, Lotz said a friend of hers was really involved and encouraged her to submit, so she did and was accepted. Lotz has been involved in the last two Storyforts.

Lotz also reflected on some of her writing influences. She mentioned Marilynne Robinson, Emily Ruskovich and Annie Dillard. One essay she mentioned was Dillard’s “Total Eclipse,” a reflective personal essay similar to the one Lotz read for the showcase. 

“Those who love us and wait for us will always keep a part of us preserved, ready to be reawoken upon our return,” Lotz’s essay reads. 

In a similar fashion, Dillard’s essay says: “For what is significance? It is significance for people. No people, no significance.”

Her personal essays have great impact and many readers can expect to relate to them.

“Those tiny details of how you are when you interact with your friends and your loved ones, what you do in your free time, when you’re alone and just with your thoughts. The smaller aspects of what I choose to focus on … I think that encompasses a larger whole of an identity,” Lotz said.

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