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.
On his website Grumpy describes himself
“I am a Social Worker by day and an artist/writer by night. I use the written word in an attempt to make sense of the secret worlds and dysfunctional dynamics that lurk beneath the facades of our daily interactions. I am not sure how my writing styles are characterized, nor am I overly concerned about it. I am immensely enthusiastic about music and often connect better with songs than I do people. I also have an intense appreciation for quality wines and whiskies, frequently consuming them in excess. I like things that smell good and struggle to manage the symptoms of a life-long relationship with depression. So, why “grumpygorman”? Spend some time here and find out…”
- When and why did you begin to write poetry?
I began to write poetry when I was a child as an escape from the real world. It’s not much different than the fantasy play with toys. If I was engaged with something creative, things didn’t feel as bad. I would try my signature, and then put words together and it just kind of went on from there..
- Who introduced you to poetry?
For me, poetry came in the form of song lyrics. I am very musically inclined though i have not had a lot of opportunity to create music. It was following lyrics along with songs that really got me into expressing myself through words. Many musician poets have influenced me, then later on I discovered online poets that resonated with me, and then I actually started exploring poetry from classic poets, so it was kind of a backwards process.
- How aware were and are you of the dominating presence of older poets?
I dropped out of high school and grew up in a fairly blue collar family. I was not exposed to a lot of literature until I went back to school as a mature student to get my Bachelor of Social Work. My favourite class in university was about children’s novels. The professor’s name was Lovejoy, which added to the fun. I loved the classic children’s novels, the innocence, the wide-eyed’ness. I didn’t have much exposure to older poets, i must confess until much later.. i was not very aware of older poets…
- What is your daily writing routine?
My daily writing routine trains me. I don’t train it. I get up, live, eat, do what I need to do and then at about 2:00pm I light scented candles, dim the lighting, choose my writing music and then melt into my chair for a good portion of the evening lost in my mind, trying to cross wires, make sense of stars, pull strings, etc.
- What motivates you to write?
emotion, humour, colours, sounds, smells, absurdities, unfairness… ego, my children, hopes that my children will see how much their dad felt and cared about the world around him. They mean the world to me.. I don’t get to see them very much, so I write out my thoughts.. so that maybe someday they can sit down and read me. 🙂
- What is your work ethic?
When I am passionate about something, I become immersed. I could paint or write for seven hours straight if I needed to. Things like eating, and peeing become annoying burdens.. when you spend so much time out there…it can be hard to pull yourself back back in. I enjoy the pursuit of knowledge, thoughts
How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
When I was young, I read a lot of Roald Dahl, Shel Silverstein, nursery rhymes, Judy Blume, Lynn Johnstone. I think they helped shape how I viewed family, and relationships. I think a lot of the playfulness of my childhood influences appear in my poetry. It was a messy time, but a time ripe with so much feeling. I think reading the Herman and Far Side books, helped shape my strange sense of humour. I think that much of my writing today, is composed through the lens of 1990’s grunge rat. That’s pretty much what I am, just a bit wiser, more particular and slower thinking and moving
- Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
The writers I admire, are not likely to be the writers who will have their work in book shops, , not to say that mainstream poetry doesn’t have value, because it does, but most of the writers I like are relatively unknown (which is a shame) online poets. I really appreciate the work of Robert Okaji, Rory Matter, David Redpath, Jeanne Elizabeth, My Valiant Soul, Lou Rasmus and Braeden Michaels. I am sure that I am forgetting many. One commonality between these writers is that they tell you about what’s going on in their minds by writing about the things outside of it. They are also authentic about their warts and write for writing’s sake. Some lyric writers that I enjoy are Matt Berninger of the National, Hayden Thorpe and Tom Armstrong of Wild Beasts, James Graham of Twilight Sad, Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit and John Talbot of Idles. I also admire many writers for the TV show, Shameless. It’s brilliant humour and dialogue.
- Why do you write?
Why don’t more people write? I write because if I don’t i start to decay. I become bitter, ugly and very unhappy. It’s how I manage to keep myself on the right tracks and my head in the right place.
- What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
You listen to your heart. You try to block out comparisons, expectations and outcomes and you just practice. The beauty of writing is in the process, not the product. Don’t be afraid to take risks but more than anything, be authentic. The second you try to write someone else’s poem is the second you’ve ceased in your relevancy.
- Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I am currently working on a project where I am writing poems to my paintings as an objective observer. When I painted them I was in a certain headspace. I am curious to see what I have to say about them outside of their creation. I know it’s very self-involved, but I think it will be worthwhile. I will continue to post poetry on my site and hopefully champion some less known online writers. Sharing the writing of others is amazing.