Whos your favorite author?
It's hard to commit to one author. My favourite memoirist is the late British playwright, Simon Gray. The Smoking Diaries, a set of four memoirs known collectively by the first book's title, are the most engaging and beautifully written books I've ever read.
David Foster Wallace isn't my favourite author, but in terms of fiction, Infinite Jest is the book that's had the greatest impact on me. It's not an easy book, in any sense, but it's worth the work. It's the book which, more so than any other, has helped me make sense of life's more troubling aspects.
I'm a white, working-class man in my late thirties who's interested in the small press, so naturally I'm a Bukowski fan. I'm not a diehard, though. In a way, reading Bukowski has become a bit like slipping into a comfy pair of slippers, which means that for me, his work is no longer daring, compelling or unique.
My favourite authors who are publishing now in the small presses are Wayne F. Burke and Karina Bush. They are polar opposites in terms of style; Burke's poetry is executed with a straightforward narrative, whereas Bush leans toward metaphor and symbolism. Karina published her first collection of poems, Maiden, last year through 48th Street Press. Of all the small-press poetry books I've read, and I've read a lot, this one stood out above all the others. A truly disturbing book which I highly recommend. I reviewed it, along with three of Wayne's books at www.screamingwithbrevity.com.
When did you realize you wanted to write?
I have always enjoyed writing things down, it's cathartic, like playing guitar or screaming in an otherwise silent room. I've been writing with publication in mind for five or six years. When I first started it was all about getting something published and the poems and stories reflected that. As a reader I have found the most compelling writers are those whose work has a purpose beyond their own publishing ambitions. That's where my desire lies now, I want to produce work that provokes empathy, starts conversation and gives voice to the voiceless. I think that's what art is for. I don't know if I'll ever come close to achieving any of that, but it seems like a worthy pursuit.
What was your last completed project?
My poetry collection, published by Bareback Press, The Human Condition is a Terminal Illness, which is available through Amazon. I'm really proud of this book. I'm also really proud to have the book published by Bareback Press as they are a press I've followed enthusiastically for a few years.
What are you working on now?
I'm writing small-press book reviews for my website www.screamingwithbrevity.com
What is your writing process typically like?
I don't really have one. Solitude helps. I smoke a lot of cigarettes when I write, but I smoke when I'm not writing so it's not really related.
How do you combat writers block?
I just do something else. Read, watch TV, bet the horses, play guitar, listen to the radio or whatever. I used to try and force it but I ended up writing a lot of shit.
Where do your ideas come from?
Conversation. I get all my best ideas from the exchange of opinion.
Whats your greatest challenge as a writer?
My greatest challenge is trying to decide whether a piece of writing is worth while or not. I don't want to contribute to the literary clutter. In order to write something beautiful, you have to make a lot of sacrifices, it takes a lot of time and work; I'd like to have a clearer perspective on whether my output justifies the work and the sacrifice.
And what has been your greatest triumph (so far)?
My chapbook, Pigeons and Peace Doves, which is available through Blood Pudding Press, and my full poetry collection, The Human Condition is a Terminal Illness, are dreams realised. My hope is that some of the poems, through shared experience, will bring some comfort to the uncomfortable; that would be the greatest triumph of all.