Dom Fonce–Interview

The Magnolia Review: Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?

Dom Fonce: Oddly enough, I write most of my best work at my university, Youngstown State. For me, coffee houses are too busy to focus and home is too comfortable to get moving. I’m lucky that YSU, like most universities in general, has an abundance of space to relax, focus, and work. Campus, to me, is the perfect mix of public liveliness and homey agreeableness to crank out work.

TMR: What kind of materials do you use? Do you write by hand or type? What is your favorite writing utensil?

DF: I’m new school. I rarely leave the house without my laptop. Somehow, I’ve even taught myself how to type without looking down at the keyboard. It’s not romantic, but using a laptop is the quickest way for me to save my work in at least two different places.

TMR: What is your routine for writing?

DF: When I first started taking writing seriously, I wrote, unwaveringly, 300 words a day for a year. I made it a routine to write every night. As a beginner, you have to work extra hard. Now I feel secure enough to write sporadically throughout the week whenever the urge hits me; however, I’ve made it a principle to read at least twice as often as I write. Letting what I’ve read marinate in my mind allows the inspiration to write exist in the first place.

TMR: How long have you been writing? When did you start writing?

DF: I’ve been writing since 2014, when I finally chose English as my major. Turkish writer, Elif Shafak, has discussed her childhood propensity to talk to imaginary friends, which is a similar experience that I had growing up. When I shut off my naturally running imagination to become more “adult,” I became deeply depressed. Creative writing, the creation of characters on the page, relieved this stress.

TMR: Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you write for?

DF: It depends on what medium I’m writing in. For instance, I see a tremendous opportunity in comics and prose to write for Young Adult and Middle Grade audiences. However, all of my poetry seems to be written for adults. If I could have my ideal career, I would model it after Neil Gaiman’s. He writes excellent work for children (like The Graveyard Book) and adults (like Sandman) equally.

TMR: What inspires you to write? If you are blocked, what do you do?

DF: If I’m stuck, I write about the writing process. For fun, I wrote my version of Wallace Stevens’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by replacing the blackbird with the image of a stork. I got stuck midway through and decided to compare the legs of the stork, that bends in complete opposition to the human’s, to the mind of a writer. I concluded, however, that the strange bend of the stork’s leg is natural, just as the bending of a writer’s mind is natural. There’s so many ways to reflect upon the sensation of writing, and the writing process, with its many hurdles, that there is no excuse to let writer’s block defeat you.

As for what inspires me, it is the aforementioned stress and depression that I feel when I do not release my built-up imagination; I have no choice.

TMR: What other things do you do besides writing? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?

DF: I’m trying my hand at vegetable gardening for the first time this spring/summer. I also enjoy lifting weights. I’m a big Browns, Buckeyes, and UFC fan. But mostly, I like having worthwhile conversations, whether it be on politics or philosophy or science or literature. Good conversation, in the long run, helps the writing.

TMR: What is your favorite part of the creative process?

DF: My favorite part of the creative process is getting my work accepted—especially if money is involved. Again, not very romantic, but essential if you take the craft seriously.

TMR: What is your advice to aspiring writers?

DF: Read, read, write. Find good workshop partners. Good, trustworthy friends are more beneficial to you than any glamorous opportunity involving strangers.

Check out Dom’s work in the upcoming issue, Volume 3, Issue 2.

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