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Describe your creative space. Do you work at home, in public spaces, etc.?
Like any aspiring writer, I used to write a lot in bars. There is plenty of material in places that allows people’s guard down. Now, most of my writing takes place in my home. I like to stand while writing. Place my journal or computer on an elevated surface: a tote full of thrift finds, the turntable, kitchen counter. When I’m pressing ink to paper, I’m working. It’s a solo job done by steady hands. Silence is wonderful, music distracting. When I write, I’m there to scoop up enchiladas. I don’t like to fake it.
What is your routine for writing?
I wish I had a routine. Even now, I’m punching out the answers to these questions, an hour after they were expected. Writing is like offering flesh. It’s bloody and stings, but it kind of looks nice up there on the altar.
How long have you been writing? When did you start writing?
This evening, I was sitting with some friends over pints and slices, describing a collage of defeats, said, I spent a decade learning to write without having anything to say. In this last year and a half I’ve been offered no time to write, yet have read more now than the cumulative prior. I’m starting to get the hang of the writing. At worst, I got my hands on the pedals and my feet gripping the steering wheel.
Who is your intended, or ideal, audience? Who do you write for?
Laughter is a defense mechanism. If I am not laughing in composition, than I am torturing myself. No one has ever called me jolly, but I think it’s because they like me.
What inspires you to write? If you are blocked, what do you do?
Blocked is an excuse. Sometimes you can’t write what you want to write. That does not mean that you cannot write. I write, now, because one day the sun will rise, and my lungs will be empty. That sucks. The writing sucks too, but at least I can be a part of it.
What other things do you do besides writing? Do you dance or play golf, etc.?
I teach. I sell vintage clothing. I hike through the wonders of New Mexico every Sunday. I like the idea that is analog. I find its process tedious. My sister allows me to store art in her attic. I think she regrets that decision.
What is your favorite part of the creative process?
After the ever-many months between conception and publication, I read the work and say to myself, I can do better. I know I can do better. I strive to write that thing ever-after I will high-five.
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
If you want to write, attach consequence to your writing. Be-Have. Art is a process of realized action. Thinking is never enough. Sit your ass down and do it. Be what you want to be. Have the life you want to live.
Ruben Rodriguez is a master of all things thrift. He holds an MFA in fiction from California State University San Bernardino where he was the fiction editor of Ghost Town. He is the author of a chapbook of experimental prose, We Do What We Want (Orange Monkey Publishing, 2015). Today, he is the poetry editor of Blue Mesa Review. His poetry has been featured in Passages North, The Brooklyn Review, Superstition Review, Forklift Ohio, Potomac Review, and elsewhere. He currently resides in Albuquerque, where he teaches and studies at the University of New Mexico.