John Tustin–Interview

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

I usually write at home, in front of my computer. If I am at work or out I will write on scrap paper—sometimes I can only write a few lines and when I get home I try to complete it.

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

I like Microsoft Word. It’s quick and easy to add or edit lines.

What is your routine for writing?

I sit at the computer and listen to music. I will also read poetry and/or argue with people on Facebook debate pages. When I am off from work the next day I will sometimes drink 12-20 beers as I read, listen to music and try to write.

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

I began writing poetry when I was fourteen, before I had any interest in reading it. I have a short attention span and tend to see things in glimpses, like snapshots. That led to poetry being the only writing medium I could handle.

When I got married nearly twenty years ago I stopped writing. I started again nine years ago (and filed for divorce a few years later.)

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

I almost always picture a single person reading what I have written. Most often, it is the woman I love. Sometimes it is someone else I know but when often it is a faceless stranger. My mass intended audience is probably someone who does not think poetry is interesting.

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

My real life and the poetry of others inspires me. Also music, my surroundings.

When I am blocked I drink copiously and just sit in front of the computer, reading poetry and waiting for something to happen. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.

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

I have little spare time. Reading and listening to music is my primary respite outside of writing.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

I love actually writing. The feeling of an idea becoming something outside of my own head that others can read. I can be writing a poem for ten minutes or two hours and it feels like no time has passed. Watching the page (actually computer screen) fill up with my words is exciting.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Listen to criticism—weigh it and think about whether you should implement it or discard it. Never let the criticism change what makes your unique and don’t write for other writers. It’s best to impress yourself.

Check out John’s work in Volume 3, Issue 2.

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