Wombwell Rainbow Interviews
I am honoured and privileged that the following writers 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.
Jeremy Michael George
originally from Northwood, New Hampshire, USA currently resides in Victorville, California, USA. His passion for poetry began in his high school years, being a part of him ever since. After a long, life-induced hiatus from writing, Jeremy has dedicated himself to sharing his heart with the world. His work is often raw, gritty, sensitive and filled with joy all at the same time. This dichotomy is meant to capture the breadth of human experience as best as possible. Jeremy loves spending time in community, enjoys movies of a wide variety and just sitting down with a good book.
Mr. George now has two self published collections of poetry available via Amazon.com, Exposing Darkness and My Pen Comes to Life. He has also been blessed to be placed in the top 10 of the 10 Pen Modern Poet’s Chart twice; also currently having nine short pieces featured by The Poet’s List on Instagram. Recently, he has been honored as a silver strip poet by The Poets of the New Era and will have work included in their annual anthology. Beyond his work as a poet, Jeremy’s regular job at Victor Valley Rescue Mission serves the community of the High Desert with a wide variety of valuable resources. Like his poetry, Jeremy seeks to make a positive impact on the world with his whole life.
1. When and why did you start writing poetry?
I began writing poetry in high school, my freshman year being 1994. During my middle school years I wrote stories mostly and I really enjoyed the creative process, even at that age, something about just exhilarated me. As I began high school, I was introduced to poetry through English courses and in my sophomore year I elected to take a creative writing class. This is where my passion for poetry ignited. At first, it was simply that. The passion for poetic form and expression. What I realized very quickly was that poetry was actually an outlet for all the things I couldn’t put into verbal expression. So, poetry first, was avenue for me to purge my heart of struggles, pain, anger, frustration and even love. I had a hard time as a child expressing emotions, but poetry gave me the ability to do what I hadn’t been able to do otherwise.
2. Who introduced you to poetry?
My freshman year English teacher, did a whole segment on Shakespeare. I did not ever write in Iambic pentameter but I fell in love with the flow and beauty of the emotions expressed through his writing. Then later in my sophomore year, my creative writing teacher introduced a number of different poets, one of which impacted me by showing the raw side of poetry, Charles Bukowski
2.1 What do you mean by “the raw side of poetry”?
Well, I began to realize that poetry did not have to be “polished”, i.e. perfect line breaks and spacing, always rhyming, etc. I guess I was introduced to what is called free verse. It’s such a wonderful open format. I felt the tangible release of emotion as I realized my poems did not have to meet some particular standard to be considered poetry. Personally, I edit my poetry, but I tend to leave them purposefully unpolished sometimes. I believe this raw aspect communicates the emotion connected to the piece in a way that “over-editing” and extra “polishing” sometimes loses.
3. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?
I was aware, at the time of several different poets, Shakespeare, E.E. Cummings, Kerouac, Angelou, Bukowski. Of course, most of these are pretty main stream, although they represent both traditional and contemporary styles. As for now, I am not overly aware of the mainstream of the poetry world, but I am very connected, via social media, to an amazing family of incredibly talented indie poets. There are so many that I could never list all of them, but to name a few, Rihan Mustapha, Mike Ristic a.k.a. The Word Nerd, Alahana Isgrigg, Kenneth Bryant, and I could go on and on.
I feel like the general population of the world thinks of poetry in terms of my first list and is, for the most part, missing the current heartbeat of poetry, from my second list and many others.
4. What is your daily writing routine?
Although my life does have routine to it, like anybody I suppose, I’m not a routine type of writer. I do write everyday, but I tend to allow inspiration to strike me and then write. My habit is to have several different notebooks in a number of different places; home, car, work, this way I can pick one up wherever I am and write. I also compose a lot on my phone, which is always with me. I do my best to write things out as soon as I feel that stirring. I am not what people may call Orthodox in any way.
5. What motivates you to write?
That is a big question for me… I’ll try to condense it to a two fold answer. My writing is, honestly, first and foremost for me as an outlet and a way to process my life. I would go as far as saying it is a therapy for me. With that being said, my writing is also intended to bless and encourage others. I’ve learned that if I write what is real to.me, it will also be real to other people. I am intentional about trying to capture all the aspects of my life, struggles, joys, angers, happiness and frustrations. My motivation behind this is to encourage people that they are not alone in the battles of life. We all struggle, we all fight but the point is we can’t give up thinking we are alone, because we aren’t alone at all!
6. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
I would say their influence on me today is found in the uniqueness of my style. In reading different types of poets, it’s never been my goal to emulate a particular person or persons. Rather, as I saw their differences it gave me freedom to pursue finding my own style. Freedom to experiment with words and formatting, which all led me to be the writer I am today.
7. Who of today’s writers do you most admire and why?
There are a lot of current writers that come to mind and differing reasons for appreciating and admiring their work. One person I value is Mike Ristic of Word Nerd Ink. His work is unflinchingly honest and his word play is nothing short of amazing. Then there is also Kenneth Bryant, whose style is more traditional but you’ll be hard pressed to find someone with a wider vocabulary and an strong grip on the heart beat of poetry. And of course, I also admire Rihan Mustapha, her knowledge and mastery of the short poetic forms is thoroughly amazing and her boldness to take risks with her content grows with each piece she writes!
8. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?
For me, writing just makes sense. I do play guitar as well, which I enjoy as a creative outlet, but writing is my first love. Words are precious to me and have always held a special place in my heart. And so, I use them, in the hopes that those words will strengthen someone else as they strengthen me too. I believe that words are the universal currency of all human beings and they, therefore have an incredible power among us.
9. What would you say to who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
The first thing I would say is find your passion. Writing can be learned but passion has to come from within a person. Personally, I never sought to become a writer, I believe I always have been. So, it was a matter of pursuing the passion I had for words and finding my voice to do so. The best way to “become” a writer is to write; good, bad or great, just write. Not everything I put to paper makes it to my social media or print.
Secondly, I would say, believe in yourself. There will be times that others won’t believe in, and they may not even like what you write, but if you’re persistent and you believe in what you are doing you’ll find your audience.
10. Tell me about any writing projects you’re involved in at the moment
Apart from my normal writing, as inspiration comes, I do have a particular project I’ve been working on. It will be a collection of short poems, i.e. no more than 2 to 3 stanzas each and not more than 8 to 10 lines per stanza. It is meant to be a journey through a painful situation told from the perspective of the person walking through the emotional fallout that happens. I’ve contrived a further twist to the perspective of the pieces though. They are actually told through the perspective of the pen that is being used to write the poems, as though the pen itself is experiencing this pain for the first time.
My intention is to make it feel like a poetic diary. The reader will walk through the moments of pain with the narrator and experience the width and breadth of each emotion as they pass through it; from anger, frustration and rage to hope beginning to blossom again. The shortness of the pieces will move the collection along quickly.
My hope is to release this book by the middle of this year. It’s been in the works for several months now and I am quite excited about it. It will be my third self-published release since October of 2017 when my first volume came out.
I also have a couple of storylines for some short story, possibly novels in the works as well. Little known fact, I enjoy writing stories too. They just take quite a bit more time than poems.
Thanks for taking the time to interview me. I am truly grateful for the experience. Many blessings to you!