Robert Ford–Interview

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

Although it sounds fun to have an office, shack or cave set up deliberately to facilitate writing, I don’t have one. So I write wherever I am, whenever I can. Which can be inconvenient.

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

Everything starts out on paper, in a notebook. Not too fussy about pens. Anything will do—pencils too. I’m better at having a notebook always to hand than I used to be, and rarely have to rely on old envelopes or margins of newspapers any more. A few redrafts and manglings usually take place in the pages of the notebook before it’s in a reasonable enough shape to be either written up on the computer or trashed. There’s always plenty of redrafting to be done from then on.

What is your routine for writing?

I don’t really have one. It just happens. Or doesn’t. Which is one of my greatest creative faults. Discipline, whilst not very cool, is indispensable. It helps to stir the soup regularly.

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

I’ve been trying to write creatively—poetry especially—ever since I can remember.

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

It may sound harsh, but I write for me. I’m happy to share, to put things out there, to see what people think. And to get feedback, which I usually try and take on board. But there’s no specific readership in mind.

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

What inspires me the most is that human life never ceases to be both inherently fascinating and ridiculous. We can be so beautiful, so cruel, so stupid. I suppose I feel the need to somehow reflect what I observe, and poetry has always seemed the most natural, obvious way. Photography too sometimes—although I’d also love to paint.

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

Mostly I walk, preferably by the ocean or in the mountains. It helps with the creative process, with the unblocking, but then so does taking the train through a city.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

That if it works properly—if you let it and don’t overthink things—then it just happens. Whether you want it to or not.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Just enjoy yourself. Be yourself. Don’t worry about being good.

Check out Robert’s work in Volume 4, Issue 1.

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