Trivia about Volume 4, Issue 2

5 artists submitted 5 comics, 2 creative nonfiction writers submitted 2 creative nonfiction pieces, 30 writers submitted 33 pieces of fiction, and 34 poets submitted 136 poems.

Volume 4, Issue 2 will be available soon.

Paul Lamb–Interview

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

The space I dedicate to writing is a spare bedroom in my house that has had the bed replaced with a desk and a comfortable chair. I do, however, keep pencil and paper at hand when I’m out for recording snippets that I might use later.

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

I do all of my fiction writing on my Mac. I find that I can work much more quickly this way to get first drafts down, especially when the ideas are flowing. Editing is easier this was as well. Nonetheless, I’ve kept a handwritten journal for more than three decades, and I have a favorite mechanical pencil that I reserve for this work.

What is your routine for writing?

I rise at an unholy hour on the weekends when the house is quiet so that I can enter the creative part of my mind undisturbed and let the work flow. I also always have a tall pitcher of iced tea— unsweetened, of course—beside me and I will usually finish it as I’m working. Generally, I can expect to get about three hours of work done before either the household wakes or my creativity is exhausted. I rarely try to do any creative writing during the week, though I often make copious notes then about whatever project I’m working on at the time.

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

I knew from an early age that I wanted to write, and I’ve been dedicated to it for my whole adult life. There were many years of apprentice work, and more than a decade passed between my first published short story and my second. But I seem to have found my voice through all of that effort and can reliably spin a tale that has a fair chance of being acceptable to an editor and finding its way into print.

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

I try to write what would be termed literary fiction, so discerning adults willing to put some thought, patience, and effort into appreciating a piece of fiction would be my likely audience. I don’t know these people, though. I let myself be my audience; I write the kinds of things I want to read.

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

I had several good mentors early in my writing life; that steered me onto the right course. And I’ve always loved to read, so the words seem to come easily to me. Of course, they still need polishing. I don’t tend to be blocked, or if I am, I don’t see it that way. I’m always thinking about stories and characters and how to develop them. In recent years my greatest inspiration is having found my great subject: the relationships between fathers and sons. I’ve written several dozen stories about this. I haven’t exhausted the subject yet.

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

For many years I could only squeeze my writing in between raising a family, earning a wage, and going to night school. But now that the children are gone and the debts are paid, I find myself bouncing grandchildren on my knee. I’ve also done a lot of running, a sport I only took up recently. No one was more amazed than I when I found myself crossing finish lines, including four marathons. Running has made several appearances in my stories. Other than that, you can generally find me in bookstores, libraries, or art museums.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

When it all comes together, when the words are flowing into the ideas that get it all exactly right. Those moments are infrequent; generally I have to struggle over every word and sentence, but sometimes I fall into that perfect place.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Read widely and write ceaselessly. Don’t worry too much about things like grammar and punctuation. Find writers you like and read their stuff. Keep at it until you find your own voice, and never apologize. Only you can tell your stories.

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

 

Mara Cohen–Interview

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

My desk faces a lovely view out my window, but my chair is uncomfortable. I should probably replace it, but I like that it matches the desk. It’s a classic case of style versus comfort.

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

I do most of my writing on my 2010 MacBook Pro. I’m thinking of a younger, sleeker, lighter-weight model. Maybe she and I will venture out to coffee shops. I live in Los Angeles, so maybe people will see me typing away on my sleek, new laptop and assume I’m writing a screenplay. Maybe Jessica Chastain would play me.

What is your routine for writing?

Writing is generally agonizing for me, so I try to make it a routine like brushing my teeth or going to the gym. And I try to do it after those two things on most days, at least during the week.

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

I’m not one of those writers who say they can’t remember a time before they started writing. I do recall in the 1st grade I loved to pull out laminated images from magazines that were kept in a box in the classroom and dictating a story about those images to a teacher’s aide. I wrote for the student newspaper when I was in high school. That was followed by a dry spell when it comes to writing, except the sterile scholarly articles I published as a professor, which I don’t consider to be “real writing.” I missed having a job title after leaving my profession, so I started saying I was a writer. Then I had to live up to that title.

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

I don’t necessarily have an intended audience when I sit down to write, but it’s a great feeling when people have a reaction to something I’ve published.

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

Often I’m inspired by something I’ve read or some conversation sparks an idea. Then later something comes to me while I’m walking my dog or taking a shower or brushing my teeth. I’m a firm believer in the importance of good oral hygiene.

When I feel blocked — pretty much every time I sit down to write — I chew lots of gum. I don’t know if the gum helps with the writer’s block, but it satisfies my urge to get up to check what’s good to eat in my kitchen. I do lots of that too.

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

I’m playing in the genre of memoir so in a way I’m always writing. When I’m going somewhere with my daughter or talking with my mom on the phone, it’s all my life and that’s material.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

I love bouncing ideas around and sharing work in progress with my writer friends.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Writing can be an isolating activity, so it’s nice to be part of a writers’ group that can provide camaraderie.

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

K.B. Holzman–Interview

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

I absolutely agree with Virginia Wolfe and have always carved out a room on my own. When the door is closed, LEAVE ME ALONE.

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

I can’t imagine writing on anything else but a computer at this point. My handwriting long ago became illegible, even to me.

What is your routine for writing?

I try to write every morning, although I often lay in bed the early hours before sunrise thinking through my stories. Walks can also be very useful in puzzling out what comes next.

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

I always wanted to write, and participated in the poetry scene in Manhattan in the 1970s. Recently, I returned to writing prose.

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

As an avid reader, my ideal writer is my fellow readers.

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

I have a great writing group which inspires me and, when all else fails, I rely on prompts. I have now participated in NaNoWriMo twice and, as a result, have two novels in the works.

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

Yoga, biking, and hiking.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

I always try to remember that the act of writing is the greatest joy.  As Anne Lamott once said, publication is the crack but the true ecstasy is in process of creating.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Enjoy yourself!

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

Brian K. Kerley–Interview

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

I have two places for writing. My favorite is my recliner, which sports a view out the window of the surrounding spruce forest. We keep seeds on the window shelf for the birds and our resident squirrel, which the cat finds entertaining. The second and perhaps my best writing place is a small windowless wooden box I built in our basement. It is a great distraction-free office.

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

I had a motocross accident when I was a teenager and shattered my dominant wrist. As a consequence, I have endured a few surgeries and then later in life, a titanium bone replacement. Handwriting and long-term typing is painful so I use voice for rough drafts and larger revisions but I edit with the keyboard. I use Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional for voice typing and do most of my work in Word, but I’ve started using Scrivener for larger works, which is a great organizational tool once you get past the learning curve.

What is your routine for writing?

I get up early in a quiet house, have a small breakfast and then dive butt first into my recliner with coffee and laptop. I write until distractions arise and then escape to my office and write some more. In the winter, I write for about six hours a day and sometimes go ten hours. Barb brings me hot tea and tells callers that I’m indisposed until I emerge. She is the best wife a writer could have.

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

I started writing when I was about twelve but at sixteen my wrist injury squashed it. I was welding ships on the Dutch Harbor crab, cod, and pollock fleets when I discovered the computer and word processor. That was the mid-nineties. My boss wanted detailed work, logs so I got creative and he got entertained. Every job had stories to go with it. I began with nonfiction, which grew when I went back to college in ‘02 to become a pilot but I didn’t get serious about my writing until 2009 when I went under the knife to have my distal ulna replaced with a titanium ball. I had to be off work for five months so I wrote my first novel with voice and one-handed typing. There was no stopping. I could no longer not-write. I gave up my full-time position and took a seasonal position flying during the busy hunting season. I wish I would have had the courage to do it sooner. When you love something like writing, you have to make time for it.

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

I write for myself first and then figure out who the audience is after. Once I get started and see the shape of my story, I then guide it where I hope it needs to go. One time I started writing in an early morning and caffeine deficient state, clueless to what it would be, and three hours later realized the story was YA. Most of my work is historical fiction but I like to dabble with fantasy, science fiction, YA, and dystopian. Sometimes I blend genres. One of these days I’d like to take a crack at a crime thriller seasoned with horror.

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

I love a beautiful landscape but I think random conversations inspire most of my ideas. I have yet to experience writer’s block. I just write. I’ll keep or delete it but something always comes along. I thank my dad for my gift of gab because I always have something to say and therefore, something to write, which is good since I’m better off keeping my mouth shut and my keyboard busy.

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

Barb and I used to dance a lot but that was before we homesteaded and moved to the frontier. I’m fond of outdoor activities like hunting and fishing, and I love my seasonal work as a bush pilot—flying along the peaks of the Wrangell Mountains will inspire anyone to poetry. I like audiobooks when doing anything solo except scuba diving, and I enjoy watching movies with Barb and working with her in our garden.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

I love the rush of a good roll. When the words come faster than voice or fingers can keep up and the pages fill before my very eyes—it is to that which I am happily addicted.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Have fun. Read what you like and write what you want. If you do a lot of both, you’ll get guidance and practice, and that’s what it takes to get good at it.

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

 

Anthony J. Mohr–Interview

Creative Space:  I work at home, rarely in public spaces.

 

Material I use:   I type into a computer and edit by computer.  The keyboard is my favorite utensil. But somewhere before a draft becomes final, I print it out and do an edit by hand.

 

Routine for writing:  Saturday or Sunday morning into the early afternoon.  Week nights whenever I can fit in fifteen to thirty minutes.

 

How long I’ve been writing:  Since high school, but that was journalism. I’ve been writing personal essays for about 15 years. I first tried my hand in fiction about 12 years ago.

 

Who do I write for:  I haven’t totally figured that out yet.  Essays have been for a

baby boomer audience. Fiction is for anyone who’ll read it.

 

What Inspires me to write; What about writer’s block:  I had writers block for years, and then around 2007, the dam broke. Now almost anything inspires me, including fires. Sometimes a good novel will inspire me to write something.

 

Other hobbies:  hiking, horseback riding, the gym

 

Favorite part of creative process:  revising and editing

 

Advice to aspiring writers:  Just start writing, even if it’s nonsense.  Let your characters run around on the page. Something good will emerge. Don’t be discouraged if the first twenty pages are miserable. And don’t be afraid to kill your darlings.

 

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