Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: L.B. Sedlacek

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.

L.B. Sedlacek

is an award winning poet and author with poetry and fiction appearing in many different journals and zines. Her latest poetry books are “The Architect of French Fries” (Presa Press) and “Words and Bones” (Finishing Line Press.) She is a former Poetry Editor for “ESC! Magazine” and also co-hosted the podcast for the small press, “Coffee House to Go,” for several years. She teacher poetry at local elementary and middle schools and publishes a free resource for poets, “The Poetry Market Ezine.” In her free time, LB enjoys swimming, reading, and taking guitar lessons.

Here’s her website: http://www.lbsedlacek.com or http://www.thepoetrymarket.com

The Interview

1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

I started writing poetry when I was living in Washington DC. I wrote song lyrics as a kid. After moving to DC, I tried writing short stories and poems. My first poem I wrote was called “Melancholy.” Not sure what happened to that poem, but that may be for the best, lol.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

I guess I first learned about it in middle school. The famous Paul Revere poem comes to mind.

3. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

I didn’t become too familiar with Poets until I started studying poetry on my own and then later on in graduate school. My favorite poet I discovered at that time was Rilke and then later on there were several more. I bought a book of Rilke poems – one I don’t have – at an independent bookstore last night. I have always been a Shakespeare nut too. I’m reading Walt Whitman currently – his story of becoming a writer & poet to me is interesting ….a self made poet. For the most part I don’t care for his poems. I do like William Carlos Williams very much. I find poetry in most everything now that I’m looking!

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I write almost every day for a 2-3 hours in the evening. By writing I mean writing poems or stories, editing, submitting or updating my websites or social media or publishing the occasional blog post. I take time to read someone else’s poem every single day – sometimes more than one. The first thing I do every weekday is to read from a book on writing poetry, 1 or 2 books of poems by other poets, and then anything else poetry or writing related. I think it’s very important to read as much as possible as this helps to improve your own craft as well as to support fellow authors. I try to write 3-4 poems a week depending on whatever project is taking priority at the time. On weekends I’m more likely to spend time on submissions or practicing my guitar or ukulele. Music to me lends a hand in my creative process.

5. What motivates you to write?

Usually an idea. It can be just something I’ve though of and wonder how it would turn out or based on a true story or one of my own experiences. I’m very fluid with my process as I work on several projects at a time which is how I read books too – several at a time.

6. What is your work ethic?

These days I tend to write for a very general G rated audience. One of my poetry books was added to the local 3rd grade school curriculum so those poems have to be readable for anyone more or less. With poetry I never use extremes in language like cursing or sexuality – I don’t write love poetry and I don’t read it either as it’s just not for me. I keep my poems basically clean. I enjoy writing Sci Fi poetry the most and sometimes Horror type poems but those poems of mine tend to focus on the psychological types of suspense and not blood and guts. I don’t watch or read Horror so I don’t try to write it either. For Fiction, I take more latitude with my work with some despicable characters making the pages. For my new psychological thriller book coming out soon (it will probably be a one and done because I don’t know if I can manage these characters again) there’s a lot of questionable characters, awful things they do to each other, language etc. For non-fiction, I try to write to a general audience with articles that can be published every where read by anyone. I tend to cater my writing ethic, I suppose based on what I’m writing. I’d say its most flexible with me with Fiction.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

Today, I admire them, their careers and try to keep persevering more or less as they did. I read JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, and mysteries by anyone. Funny thing I never dreamed of being a writer when I was young – I wanted to be a singer!

7.1. How have they influenced your work?

I would say they’ve inspired me as a writer – I don’t write the same kind of books but their work and originality gives me hope and inspiration for my own works.

8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why

Dani Shapiro is one of my favorite authors – she started out with fiction and now does memoirs. I really liked her style of writing – the way she’d weave narrative with prose in her books. Ted Kooser is one of my favorite poets. He can take the most ordinary thing and turn it into something amazing. I also like to read the poetry of local poets and/or attend their readings to get a different perspective on how someone else’s process works.

9. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

I write because I must – even if no one else reads what I write I still have to write or some form of writing. Writing for me is akin to breathing. I feel that way about swimming too – that’s probably why I’ve written several things about water. I’ve tried other things and I’ve found I’m just not that good at anything else.

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

I’d tell them to 1) read 2) read some more 3) read in the genres they’d like to try writing in, 4) attend readings and author events, 5) join a writers group online or in person, 6) buy or check out from the library books or ebooks on writing – just one at a time, 7) check reference periodicals, 8 – search online for articles on writing, 9) talk to writer who has been published- they don’t have to write in the same genre.   There is an educational aspect to it – study form, structure, grammar, vocabulary , all those things schoolteachers make you do when you take an English or Reading class.  Also you can try an online or local college writing course as well.  After you learn about writing, practice writing.  After you practice writing, read your works out loud for others.  After you share your writings, share them again on paper or online – don’t share online if you plan to actually submit that piece so you don’t run into “no previously published submissions” when submitting. Next re-read, edit, re-draft and read again.  After that try submitting to a zine or journal or your newspaper.  You can start with a simple Letter to the Editor or post in an online writers forum to get a feel for it.

11. Tell me about writing projects you’re involved in at the moment.

Sure!  I just recently had 2 chapbooks published:  “The Architect of French Fries” from Presa Press and “The Adventures of Stick People on Cars” from Alien Buddha Press that I’m currently publicizing.  I have a new beach poetry chapbook coming out soon.  Plus I’m working on a sequel to my award nominated mystery “The Glass River.”  I’m also editing a prose poetry book written over an entire year broken out by month.  It seems I always have a lot going at once!

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