F WORD WARNING
Wombwell Rainbow Interviews
I am honoured and privileged that the following poets, local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.
1. What were the circumstances under which you began to write poetry?
When I started writing I started by writing fiction. This was right after I graduated high school and started college. At some point in college I took one creative writing class which was largely a waste of time. However, I met a few kindred spirits in that class that decided to start a print lit ‘zine with me and through that process and around that time I started delving into poetry. I think some of the more underground poets that I was exposed to around that time as well as Bukowski and the beats showed me that poetry didn’t have to be what most people think it is – rhyming and all flowery and nice. I began to appreciate the fact that I found this outlet for quick bursts of energy, intensity, anger, sarcasm, etc., etc.
2. Who introduced you to poetry?
As I addressed in the first question, I was always aware of poetry, but there was a time when I had the wrong idea about it. It wasn’t until I met some underground poets and was exposed to a lot of the writers of the beat generation that I came to understand poetry as I understand it now.
3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?
Very aware. I was a big fan of the beat poets and other poets of that generation. Even though he wrote mostly prose, William S. Burroughs had a large influence on me, maybe more than anyone else. Just the way he bent language and tossed it around like a fucking rag doll. He didn’t give a fuck about the rules. He was very risqué with his subject material and the way he presented it and I really dug that about him. It really opened my mind a lot and changed the way I see writing as well as the world around me. I think some writers can clean the lens of your third eye just as well if not better than a handful of magic mushrooms.
4. What is your daily writing routine?
It varies and depends on the circumstances. Right now I am working on a Novella. Most of it is already written by hand. When I was writing it by hand I had just one rule: write at least a page a day. I usually did much more than that though. Now that I am typing it and editing as I go I try to do it in instalments throughout the day. I find that if it gets too tedious that I can lose some enthusiasm and energy and that will have a negative effect on the writing. So, I am trying to hit it hard and in short bursts: once early in the morning, once toward the end of the day and as many short sessions throughout the day as I can. Once I start losing steam or focus I like to let it lay and simmer for awhile and then come back to it fresh.
5. What motivates you to write?
I enjoy the entire process. You’re creating something from scratch for yourself and others to hopefully enjoy. It’s not unlike a mad scientist in his lab or a chef in the kitchen. But I don’t write flowery horseshit to appease the masses of Pollyanna. I like trying to get under peoples’ skin so when I do get a reaction positive or negative that’s a bonus. I don’t mind pissing people off in fact I rather enjoy it, but when I can find kindred spirits who are into my stuff I enjoy that as well. Mostly I do it for myself. It’s a great outlet.
6. What is your work ethic?
I’m a pretty driven person so my work ethic in general is strong and my approach to writing is no different. However, I would also say that sometimes no matter how bad you want to write sometimes you have to know when to step away and regroup. If nothing is coming or I feel like I’m writing a bunch of garbage I’d rather not write at all than try to force it.
7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
Burroughs and others from his generation showed me how to let loose and not worry too much about rules or structure and to be open to some pretty bizarre ideas and imagery. A lot of those folks also influenced me to this day with regards to the sound of language in my head. Something may not necessarily make a lot of sense but when I read it back to myself it might have a good ring to it, almost like song lyrics. If that’s the case I’ll often go with it. Just ranting and raving. Diarrhoea of the mouth. It’s how I came up with the term “Alien Buddha.” I had no clue what it meant I just know it sounded cool as fuck to me.
8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
There are too many to mention by name, but one thing I can tell you is that most of them are not very well known unfortunately, hopefully at some point that will change for some of them. Certainly there are some good writers with big balls that break through from time to time but I feel like most of the ones that are out there making a big name for themselves are pandering to the average middle to upper class suburbanite slob at airport bookstores and most of what they are pumping out is slop that I wouldn’t line my birdcage with if I had one. One of the benefits of doing Alien Buddha Press and our Facebook group is it’s exposed me to a lot of talented people whose work I admire very much. A lot of good writers and they are writing from the heart. These people are making little to no money and they’re still doing it and will continue to do so because they feel compelled to do so and are passionate about it and I really respect and admire that a lot. Most of the lightweights that I addressed in the beginning of this paragraph would tuck their tails and run away crying if they weren’t famous or well paid anymore. Fuck them. God bless the goddamn underground.
9. Why do you write?
I enjoy it, it can be very cathartic. I enjoy building something of my own from scratch and then showing it to others and seeing their reaction.
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
I would tell them to go write something down on a piece of paper and to stop asking me stupid questions.
11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
Right now my main focus is finishing this novella that I am currently working on. It’s a pretty twisted tale of a bunch of drug addled cannibal freaks who find themselves among some of the last beings on the planet after an apocalyptic event and their struggle for survival. I already have two more ideas for after that that I haven’t begun working on yet, but I may soon if I need a break at times from the tedium of working on my main current project. One is a third person fiction piece about an amish guy who incurs brain damage and ends up in a psych ward after being hit by lightning and starts to travel the country hacking people up with a machete. Very romantic. The other is an idea I have for a semi-autobiographical story although I may tell it in the third person. Basically, it would detail a lot of the seedier and more painful details of my past especially with regards to struggling with a chemical dependency and some of the crazier shit I got into in Las Vegas as a result of that. Lastly, I am strongly considering putting out a compilation of sorts in the very near future. It would include a re-release of my novelette Bulls in a China Shop along with some old previously unreleased short stories and poems as well as some new stuff. Also, since I like to mess around a lot with photography that would give me the chance to throw some of my photographic work in there too.