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Charles Joseph Albert–Interview

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

I have worked in just about every conceivable kind of space–at the office, on the dining room table, in bed. Coffee houses were my fave when I lived in San Francisco. But for the past 12 years, I’ve been writing in a little 6 foot by eight foot walled-off corner of my garage. It’s the perfect size. Big enough for a desk and bookshelf, but too small for visiting in-laws.

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

I feel it’s important to keep up with the 21st century, and I do everything on a laptop now. I just hope dictation software improves faster than my arthritis, because this keyboard is killing me.

What is your routine for writing?

On a good day, I’m up at 6am and writing until 9, when I have to leave for work. 

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

I’d wanted to write since I was in high school, in the 1970’s, but my parents convinced me that I couldn’t support myself at that pursuit, and that I should go into physics instead. I don’t know if I fully appreciate their direction, since I am a lousy physicist, but I’m also far from supporting myself as a writer. Really, the only positive that came out of it all are a few physics poems.

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

Every poem that I begin, I’m writing strictly for myself. But I have internalized the voices of a number of highly talented poets who contribute to eratosphere.com, where I’ve spent a lot of time, and when it comes to the inevitable editing and re-editing, I try to channel them.

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

My inspirations tend to come from my dissatisfactions with the world. And I don’t think I’m in danger of running out any time soon.

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

I’m the father of three teenage boys, and so right now my wife and I are treading that narrow line between doing anything we can to help enrich their lives and not strangling them. 

I also play in an awesome all-trombone band called “South Bay Bones.” Here’s a link: http://www.southbaybones.org/

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

My favorite part is the initial writing down of the idea, the being a mere amanuensis of the muse. Even though that is only the raw, unedited part that may or may not (more probably may not, to be truthful) ever get refined to the point that it can be used, I still love being in that wonderful mode of cogitation where you completely lose yourself, you BECOME the thing you are trying to write.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

My advice is to read in the genre you think you want to write in. I know a few amateur writers

who say “Oh, I just want to write. I don’t want to read anyone else!” and you can only imagine what that does for their craft, not to mention their understanding of the market and their ability to contribute to the on-going conversation. 

A really good way to read in your genre these days is through on-line writer’s forums. I am a member of a few of them and they’re fantastic. Invaluable!

Check out Charles’s work in Volume 3, Issue 2 and Volume 4, Issue 1.