David Spicer–Interview

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

I work in a spare bedroom surrounded by books and CDs. Much of the time my cat is with me.

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

I use the computer for most of my poems, but I often write in longhand.

What is your routine for writing?

I don’t have a set routine or ritual for writing. I write when the mood strikes me, which is often.

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

50 years. I started in high school.

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

No ideal audience. I don’t write for academics but for myself and for people who care to read what I write.

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

Anything that catches my fancy.  I’m rarely blocked. Sometimes I won’t write for a week or so, but usually I’m back in the chair before long.

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

I watch movies, listen to music, email other writers, read. I try to walk a lot, too.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

Listening to that inner voice that says a poem is coming and then writing the first few lines. And then the revision part is as exciting, too. So I guess I like all parts.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Find a couple of trusted readers who believe in tough love and who push you in a kind way. Avoid abrasive critics.

 

Check out David’s work in Volume 4, Issue 2.

 

Daniel Edward Moore

Daniel Edward Moore lives in Washington on Whidbey Island. His poems have been found at Spoon River Poetry Review, Rattle, Columbia Journal and others. His poems will soon be found at Hawaii Review, Blue Fifth Review, Plainsongs, The Museum Of Americana, West Trade Review, Frontier Poetry Journal, Flexible Persona Literary Journal, AJI Magazine, and Duende Literary Journal. His book Confessions of a Pentecostal Buddhist, can be found on Amazon. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Visit Daniel at danieledwardmoore.com.

Narcoleptic Stallion, Glory Unremarkable, and Government Shutdown, Volume 5, Issue 1

Ruben E. Smith

Ruben E. Smith is a current English major student at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. He likes to write short fiction, nonfiction, and the occasional poem, while also finding time to argue about Faulkner, speak French, and read Fitzgerald. Some of his work has been published in Argus Art & Literary Magazine.

The Women on the Falling Elevator, Going Up, Volume 5, Issue 1
Interview

Holly Day–Interview

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

I work at home mostly—I have a very tiny cramped office I write in during the winter (because it has a heater in it) and I recently turned my son’s former bedroom into another office, which has a window looking out into the back yard that’s turning out to be more distracting than I’d hoped.

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

I sometimes write by hand, but I mostly just write on my computer.

What is your routine for writing?

Wake up, do an hour or so of market research and submitting material, get my daughter ready for school, then write for the next 4-5 hours (until my daughter comes home from school).

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

Unofficially, I’ve been writing poetry and fiction since I was 4. Officially, I’ve been writing for publication since I was 15 (going on 32 years now).

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

Initially, I always write for myself, and then the question of audience comes later.

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

I’ve been writing for so long now that just the act of sitting at my desk inspires me to write. I worked as a journalist and a technical writer for a long time, so I didn’t have the luxury of being blocked—I always had intense deadlines to meet, so every moment I wasn’t writing was a moment dragging me closer to poverty. I maintain those same sort of deadlines for myself with fiction and poetry now, so I don’t really think about writer’s block.

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

I do a lot of handicrafts, like needlepoint and beadwork. When it’s nice out, I love to play in my garden. My husband and I write hiking and history books together, and a lot of our research involves big, long, wonderful walks through parks and the city, which I also love.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

I love all of it. I love stumbling into a story or poem and feeling it grow into something separate from me. I love the moment after finishing something when I wonder, “How did this come about?” I love watching pages and pages fill up while I’m working on a book or a longer piece. It’s all wonderful.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Be persistent. Approach writing with joy.

 

Check out Holly’s work in Volume 3, Issue 1, and Volume 4, Issue 2. Two of her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart, “Fred, Half Dead, Beethoven In His Head” in Volume 3, Issue 1, and “The Patch of Tulips I Never Planted” in Volume 4, Issue 2.

 

Lonnie James–Interview

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

My favorite creative space is in my home at night after most of the world has long been in bed. I find that I’m most creative at night, so in my living room in between 1am and 4am seems to be the time and space when I feel most comfortable. Honestly, I think it’s the isolation. However, I have done a great deal of work in a studio setting within my college experience with 20 other people in a room where I just sort of have to phase everything and everyone out. I may be there in body but my mind has long gone.

What kind of materials do you use? What mediums do you work in?

My favorite materials to use are Pilot G-2 Pens and India Ink. I’ve also really started to enjoy the use of charcoal. So, I’m sort of all over the place because I think I’m still finding myself as an artist—but what is definitively clear is that dark colors, and lots of use of ink is a very distinctive characteristic that seems to be at the center of my style and/or chosen aesthetic.

What is your routine for art? Do you always sketch first?

My routine for art is to use it as a catalyst for expression when I’m unable to communicate my feelings orally…which seems to be often. I hold a lot of things in, and I suffer from various mental illnesses such as PTSD and Depression. When I’m having bad days, my art becomes my lifeline. It gives me a constructive way of dealing with the feelings and thoughts I’m experiencing.

How long have you been making art? When did you start making art?

I started when I was young and gave it up because of a lack of value in what I was doing. I didn’t think I was any good or that people would care about what I was doing, so I stopped. My professor at BGSU, named Theresa Williams, reminded me what being a real artist was about. It’s not about recognition, or money, it’s about self-expression, self-exploration, and honesty. So I started again recently in college because I started to realize that there is a whole world of people who are open minded enough to appreciate things that I can create.

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

My intended audience has really only been me up to this point. I never really thought that anyone else would care to see it much. I’ve gotten to a point in my journey as an artist that I feel it’s important to create my art for myself, and if others appreciate it, great, but my intentions for art are really just get my feelings out there in the only way I know how. It just took on this medium with the guidance of people much wiser than myself who showed me that I could do this to heal myself.

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

My feelings are my biggest source of inspiration. Especially my sadness, and depression. I’ve come to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be who I am artistically without my sadness and depression. It’s sort of tragic to say in a way, but I’m thankful in some ways for having a hard life because I’ve survived, and now I have so much fuel to create things. It’s a double edged sword though, because it’s not easy struggling. If I’m feeling blocked I listen to music and watch films. They inspire me and make me feel things that make me want to create something.

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

I’m a filmmaker, and a musician. I was in a Thrash Metal band for years, and then after that went south, I decided to go back to school for film. Now I have a real passion for creating films, and writing, as well as music. I’m also a big fan of video games. I don’t have as much time to play these days but I love to sit down and play a good Role Playing Game from time to time.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

I think when I finish. (haha) Honestly the feeling I get when I’m done is such a relief and a sense of accomplishment that it has to be my favorite part. Other than finishing, my favorite is the moment your idea starts to really take shape. When you’re drawing and maybe at first you’re not really sure what you’re drawing, you’re just letting your hand free flow over the paper and then suddenly in the assortment and array of lines and shapes that you’ve created, you identify something coherent, and something that you didn’t think was possible. I love that “breaking ground on a new frontier” sort of feeling when I feel like I’m trekking into uncharted territory artistically. Every so often that happens, and I’m shocked at what I’ve accomplished.

What is your advice to aspiring artists?

I almost don’t feel qualified to give people advice. However, if I gave any advice at all, I’d say think outside of the box. Don’t always aspire to look exactly the way other people might do their work. I would also say don’t be afraid to really express yourself. Art isn’t always politically correct, and it’s not always about playing it safe. It’s ok not to stay within the lines, and it’s ok for something not to be perfect. Don’t allow the idea or aspiration of perfection lock you up like it has done to me. Just do something, anything. Put pen to paper. I highly suggest checking out Lynda Barry’s Syllabus because she comes up with some ways for anyone to make something even if you’re locked up and have creator’s block.

 

Check out Lonnie’s work in Volume 4, Issue 2.

Mela Blust–Interview

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

I usually work at home, as I tend to become distracted elsewhere. However, I jot down a verse or line on scrap paper occasionally whilst out and about, if it comes to me.

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

I typically type when I write, unless I am out for the day and happen to think of something I want to record. I do have a connection with old typewriters, though.

What is your routine for writing?

I can feel when I need to write. Poetry is very cathartic, for me, and I can basically resign myself to an entire day writing because I need that release.

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

I started writing in the third grade. I entered a poetry contest and won. I have never stopped.

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

I mostly write for myself, but I also write for my daughter.

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

I am inspired by emotion. If I’m blocked, I let it take its course. It will come eventually.

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

I am an artist as well. I sculpt, paint, make jewelry, and pose for painting classes.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

When it is finished, whatever I have created, and it is beautiful to behold.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Be determined. Never give up. If you are relentless, you can reach your dreams. I did.

 

Check out Mela’s work in Volume 4, Issue 2.

 

Kelsey Zimmerman–Interview

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

I usually write at home, or when I’m travelling. I consider writing very private, and it’s hard for me to do it in public.

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

I typically type because it saves me time later, but there is something visceral I love about writing on paper. If I’m out and about, I keep a pen and notebook on me in case inspiration strikes.

What is your routine for writing?

Oh, I should have a routine! The closest thing I have to a routine at this point is thinking near-constantly to myself, “I should do some writing today.” And if it all works out, I do.

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

At least since young adolescence. I remember writing poetry for sure in 6th grade, but I could have started sooner. But I’ve certainly had stretches—some over a year long—of doing no writing whatsoever.

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

I write for anyone who has ever felt like they’re alone—so, pretty much most everyone. The thing I love about poetry is how, if done right, it can take you into a moment so deeply and suddenly you realize: “I’ve had this moment before. I’ve felt what this poet is describing.” And there’s a sense of communion in that I strive for.

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

Nature is the great inspiration for me. Or big emotions: I’m not much of a crier, so when I need to get my feelings out I write instead. If I’m blocked, going for a walk helps, especially in the woods.

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

Well, I have my full-time day job. I also knit, dabble in photography, and ride my bike. Spending time with friends and family is important to me, too.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

That would have to be the feeling when everything clicks, and you look back at what you’ve done and are really excited about it.

What is your advice to aspiring writers?

I still consider myself an aspiring writer, so this is a loaded question! But I guess the advice I would give is it’s never too late to start, and never too late to get serious about it, either. Be patient with yourself. There isn’t a rush.

 

Check out Kelsey’s work in Volume 4, Issue 2.