Friday, 24 May 2019

Interview with Poet, J.W. Taylor

The first time I read this interview I just wanted to cry.  J.W. Taylor gets very intimate in this exchange with regards to his life, personal struggles and ways of overcoming life’s adversities.  His story is one of perseverance regardless of how dark things became in his life. That really should be a lesson to those out there who think life is difficult and not worth living.  It’s life, there will always be something that desires to drag you down into the depths of despair when one feels as though everyone or everything is against them and J.W. has decided to look at the light and try to do his best rather than give up.  For more information on J.W. Taylor give him a follow on Instagram @wayland.taylor .

RMMW: We all must deal with our own inner critic; how do you contend with yours?

JWT: So a lot of people struggle with self doubt, self-consciousness, I find that the best way to deal with these things is to look at it as constructive criticism from the self. The subconscious within us, our souls, spirits, or if you want to climb higher up the ladder of mysticism, spirit guides, all these things will push you to do better with your works, or your life. You don’t contend with your mind or your thoughts, you use them.

RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, how did you overcome it?

JWT: There are few times when I become blocked. My best answer to this is, you can’t force it. If you remember, growing up, trying to call over a puppy or kitten and someone tells you to let it come. It’s the same idea, you let those things happen, you don’t force creativity because then it’s not creativity, it’s a ritualistic process. Things will come to pass, patience and an understanding of who you are is the answer.

RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?

JWT: Music, always music. The greatest cornerstone of our lives will and always will be music. It inspires whole groups of people, uniting them under one sound. If I want to fuel my writing, other than letting it come, I listen to something that sets me in the right mood for the right poem or work.

RMMW: What is your favourite poem written by you?

JWT: I won’t say my favorite, all of my works are mine, I can’t pick one that I enjoy more than the others. However, I’d say it would be my first one. The first poem that broke me into writing. I’d lost it for some time, but now that I found it, I guess I can put it here.

‘I found myself in the Abyssal Darkness, an apical of the best, and worst solitude accompanied with the greatest company in all my existence.

It was there in the embrace of that eternal Cimmerian Shade I was held aback from the masses of lies strewn out before me like the earth, masked as reality.

And here in the comforting darkness, my celestial oblivion; I fortify, I exist, and I cease by that which I fear, and I accept. 

My demise & my home’

RMMW: What do you feel is the writer's role in today's society?

JWT: To feel, to touch, and to change. Writing is downplayed as a hobby, but our works are what inspire others. Alan Watts, William Earnest Henley, Charles Bukowski, all of these are the poets who inspired me.

RMMW: Who are you favourite indie poets?

JWT: Hands down? K. Towne Jr.  I relate to his writing, and in one of my favorites by him he also references Bukowski’s work.

RMMW: What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

JWT: I work long hours at a steam plant, shoveling coal. I wake up early and get off at three. The rest of my afternoons are given to either friends, family, or my thoughts.

RMMW: What inspires you?

JWT: Is it okay if I get personal? All throughout my high school life I was the black sheep screw up, I was casted out, and as a result I got into some things I shouldn’t have. I was very self aware of my weight. One day that changed, I lost eighty pounds, graduated, joined the marine corps reserves. I found the love of my life.

I had life in my hands, and I messed up. I was kicked out of my parent’s house, I was homeless, so I left the marines with an OTH. Lived in a car for a month with my fiancé. Life was hell, things started turning around, here recently, she had a miscarriage.

Life is rough. When you don’t have enough money to get married, you get looked down on in the Bible Belt.

There’s a light in every darkness. No matter how bad the story gets, you just stand, keep walking tall, and you never back down. It helps to see the good in the bad, and for people who go through bad everyday, my works are for them.

I have a book I’m working on, “Meditations of a Cruel Corpse in a Burning Forest.” It sounds dark and edgy at first. However, it’s about the ancient nature of man clashing with the modern man. I would spare nothing in saying that I’m not a man of the modern, I prefer the old. All the same I prefer the Good over the Bad, no matter how surrounded by bad I may be.

RMMW: At what age did you first start writing?

JWT: Poetry was when I was 16, before that I’d always love to write short stories. Occasionally tried my hand in novels or series, I still have many of my old projects left over, including screen writings of mine that I never finished.

RMMW: What do you think good poetry ought do?

JWT: It should be cherished, loved, and it should inspire. Remembered.

RMMW: What did you enjoy reading as a child?

JWT: Mythology, ancient religions and cultures were fascinating to me, especially Mayan and Aztec civilization.  I also enjoyed some good Warhammer 40k.

RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?

JWT: That’s a fun little question, the ability to change matter. I always go back to the Watchmen, a great movie that humanizes superhero movies. Dr. Manhattan is one of the greatest characters on the show and with his one ability he has the potential to do so many things.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Interview with Poet, Julia Yeager-Archer

We all constantly live with the ghosts that surround us through our daily lives. To be able to pull from so many stories to comprehend the main journey of one person is not only enlightening but also quite emotional.  All the Ghosts We've Always Had gives depth to even the simplest poem.  I could strongly relate to that poor bear being ripped from limb to limb as it was something, I experienced firsthand. The terror and sadness from that scene left me in a pool of my own tears. I genuinely felt like Alice in Wonderland.  A very thoughtful read for anyone who enjoys adversity in any light. Now, that’s exactly how I feel about Julia Yeager-Archer’s chapbook All the Ghosts We’ve Always Had needless to say it is an emotional roller coaster for sure.  For more information on Julia please feel free to follow her on Instagram @julesjustwrite .

RMMW: What is your favourite poem written by you?

JYA: Oh, man. My absolute fave poem of mine is the prose poem at Okay Donkey "How to Love a Monster with Average Sized Hands."

How to Love a Monster with Average-Sized Hands

If I could marry a myth it would be monstrous, but not monstrous like frightening. Monstrous as in a monstrous love where I’d be prouder than a Phoenix in plumage, and hotter than a poker. I’d swing on Cthulhu’s feelers. Take a water-slide ride down the tail of Godzilla. I’d let a Wendigo eat my heart and put a ring on it and drive me out to our small town’s overlook where he’d insist I’d wear protection and let me finish the rest of my wine. Loch Ness monster, more like Loch Bless monster, because every night you come to me in bed is another day I fall in love. Instead of calling the cops, my father would shake hands with Cyclops, and call him the son he never had, because if your face were a little more lion and a little less wolf we’d have a magically monstrous love on our hands, but instead I am stuck with you, you, and you are no creepy cryptid but a mere under-the-bed boogeyman that sends me screaming only that’s what I get for having married a monster with average-sized hands and not looking out the front door before answering it.

RMMW: We all have to contend with our inner critic, how do you deal with yours?

JYA:  It's super hard for me sometimes, since I get writer-envy, BUT the best way for me is to just keep my eyes on my own page. Becoming immersed in a project I love also really helps me focus on the now, and the craft.

RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked if yes, how did you overcome it?

JYA: I always get blocked after I finish a long project like a novel or something. Usually, I throw myself into other creative acts, and other media like watching a lot of TV, and reading new things. Usually I find that I start to get inspired and my brain begins to brew again.

RMMW: Do you have any artists rituals before starting a new piece?

JYA: Not a ton. I definitely always put on a song that reminds me of what I'm writing, and then blast it on repeat.

RMMW: When did you start writing & what attracted you to poetry?

JYA: I guess I don't really consider myself a poet. I just write for the story, and then if I see the form it's taking is more poem, I take that route. I've been writing since I was young, but seriously maybe for the last 15 years or so.

RMMW: Can you tell me about your publication journey?

JYA: I always loved to write. I took an independent study class maybe 15 years ago and wrote a few short stories. The professor recommended I send some off, and that was the first step of me thinking about actually getting published. That I could maybe do this. Then I found flash fiction, and I started writing and subbing short stories and poems.

RMMW: Do you struggle with editing your own work?

JYA: Editing is the worst for me! It's so hard to see my work with fresh eyes, especially when I've been entrenched for so long. I tend to trust my gut when I edit, like what feels right, works right, and so far, it's pulled me through.

RMMW: How do you feel you've evolved as a poet over the years?

JYA: I think being smarter about what you put in the piece. For me, I used to think poetry as so rigid (like stanzas, etc) or super flowery. Now I love trying to distill it down to stillness, to something quiet and still have a profound, even better, effect on a reader. But again, I don't feel like a poet.

RMMW: Who are your favourite poets to read, who would you recommend?

JYA: See? I don't read a ton of poetry. I guess Sylvia Plath. I love Wallace Stevens' "The Emperor of Ice Cream." I adore that poem.

RMMW: Do you have a particular place or process when you write? Does your poem start long hand, or do you go to the computer right away?

JYA: My pieces always start in front of the computer. I'll get it out. Then do a pass and edit. Then let it sit and come back to it another day. One more edit, then it's done. So usually 3 rounds on a piece is my MO. That's three, right? I'm a writer, I don't math.

RMMW: Are you planning on releasing another book soon, if yes, when?
JYA: When luck smiles on me! Ha, but seriously, I want to release another book, but there's nothing in the works yet. I know it's definitely in the cards though. Maybe soon, maybe not.
RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?

JYA: Can I say that when I die I'd like to become a ghost? Can that be my superpower?

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Interview with Poet & Illustrator, Steve Zmijewski

I’ve always said it many times on my blog, I’m fiercely jealous of artists because they have so many wonderful tools at their disposal for creating art and as a writer all I have are my pens and parchment – pretty boring if you compare it to the cornucopia of supplies artists have at their disposal.  Steve Zmijewski is a hybrid illustrator and writer – so I’m equally jealous as he can illustrate his own poetry a skill, I know I’ll never have.  All, I’ve ever had are my glitter pens and words.  It’s so impressive to be surrounded by such diverse talent.  For more information on Steve, I’d like to suggest to all of you to give a follow on Instagram @catchstevez or check out his website

RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked, if yes how did you overcome it?

SZ: Life has this funny way of just happening, ya know? But I don’t ever really feel blocked, more or less postponed on a rather general basis. My mind is always moving and rolling something around though.

When I sit down to write or draw/paint and immediately feel disconnected or like I’m just spinning bald wheels, I often jump to a separate notebook or sticky pad full of lists, eventual drawing ideas and bits, pieces, chunks of incomplete poems-to-be. I’ll sift through the wealth of that incomplete stuff to hopefully get myself running in one way or the other.

RMMW: We all have an inner critic; how do you contend with yours?

SZ: Yes, that we do. I often like to think of the inner critic as that friend you love to hate or an alter ego of sorts. You listen to what he/she has to say, then you aspire to prove them wrong and ultimately beat them. Not in the physical sense, although that would be quite interesting-like a Tyler Durden/Fight Club kinda thing.

Either that or you compile a bunch of okay, metaphorical poems about it.

RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?

SZ: These days it’s a bit harder for me to have an actual process. It needs to be quick and with relatively zero setup. If the mood strikes, say in the middle of the day, which it often does, I try to bottle it and anxiously watch the clock until the kids and wife are asleep.
Then with writing or editing, it really comes down to a glass or two of red wine or a cup or two of black coffee late night-early morning for a few hours.

I can’t really listen to music while I write because it distracts or pulls me out of the mode, but with drawing/painting, it’s the only must. Putting on CDs or turning on a playlist usually gets me to where I need to be.

The bands and artists that I love and their songs serve as a backbeat and major influence on me and all of my work, more than any fine artist or favorite writer/poet has.

RMMW: At what age did you commence writing?

SZ: I don’t know if I could recall an exact age of when I began writing creatively. But I do vaguely remember, 8th grade-ish, age 13 maybe, coming home from school and writing some really young and simple lyrics about love and stuff in a notebook for my made-up band. That may have been the start, but it really wasn’t until freshmen-sophomore year of college that I began exploring with words and taking writing and the action more seriously. And then from there, the mental need and desire sort of became this accessory that it is today.
It’s sincere and vital to put expression down that helps me make sense of things and optimistically, one day become support or encouragement to others who want it.

RMMW: What is your first artistic memory?

SZ: Again, it’s hard for me to recall the exact age, but I remember, possibly around 8-9 years old, sitting at the table with my two younger brothers at each side, drawing cartoon characters and battle scenes.

Please tell us a little bit about your catalogued book at the Brooklyn Art Library?  Two of my books are available at my local library, I remember feeling so pleased that my books had been accepted to be part of a library collection. How did you feel when your book was placed in the catalogue at the Brooklyn Art Library?

Oh it’s a very cool feeling. I have two sketchbooks now catalogued at the Brooklyn Art Library through their Sketchbook Project. I feel incredibly proud and happy with my follow-through.
The opportunity was on my radar for a bit before I decided to jump. Then I started 2018 by getting the sketchbook and aimed to use it as a means of creative resurgence. I enjoyed the process I built out of it and many of the brisk sketches done within became more completed products that I now have hanging around my home. I began 2019 the same way and am even more pleased this time around with the final result.
Anyone from anywhere in the world can be a part of the project. Check it out

RMMW: What came first your love of poetry or sketching?

SZ: Drawing and sketching with pencils and pens was first by a long stretch.

RMMW: How do you maintain a healthy work life balance?

SZ: I don’t know if I successfully do or subjectively, if I know how to. I try my best for my family and at the end of the day, I am happy with that regardless of how it sometimes feels.
I’ve spent most of my adult, working life juggling 2-3 jobs at once. A full time job, like most, supported by side/part time gigs for the extra cash. I worked as a waiter for longer than I can honestly remember and just decided to pull the plug, for sanity reasons. That’s a positive on the health side, until the lack of extra funds first punches me in the gut. And lately, I have been keeping my notebook and/or a current art project close by on my desk. I’ll add or chip away at it throughout the day to help cut the tension of the daily grind and combat the mind boggling back and forth correspondence with salespeople.
RMMW: What is your favourite sketch drawn by you and why?

SZ: Two months ago, my wife and I welcomed our second child into this crazy world. Naturally, the moment our oldest son first held his new, baby brother was beautifully captured on a cell phone. Somehow, there was a brief moment during the afternoon we arrived home from the hospital where I was able to collect myself. I recreated that photo then, but with gifts for their faces because these two amazing boys are the universe’s gift to me.

RMMW: What is your favourite artist tool?

SZ: My CD and record collection. Haha. I also have this little, letter-number stencil from when I was a kid, which I have taped and re-taped so many times to keep together, but I love to use it for any wording layout I do.

RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?

SZ: I would definitely have to say teleportation over unlimited distances. Maybe that combined with a self-cloning ability. The Doctor Manhattan character comes to mind, but he may be too big and powerful of an example and sort of opposed to the particular stance I would take.

I tend to try to be everything to everyone. I try to be everywhere and do everything. This way of being and thinking is obviously impossible, with unfair stress placed on myself, but teleportation + cloning, that would be my solution.

Or maybe what I need is an awesome laser blast fired straight from the fingertips that just destroys everything around so I wouldn’t have to worry about any of what I steadily worry about.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Interview with Poet, Scott Laudati

A couple of years ago, I was writing for The Punk Archive and was given this exceptional poetry book to review.  That very book was Scott Laudati’s first poetry collection entitled Hawaiian Shirts in the Electric Chair – that is when I first discovered who Scott is. I was so grateful as his poetry is truly something to behold. I’ve had the good fortune of interviewing Scott a couple of times, he really does have a lot of insight with regards to very human issues.  I’m so excited to announce that Scott Laudati’s new poetry book Camp Winapooka is now available on Amazon. For more information on Scott give him a follow at @scottlaudati & @bonemachineinc.

Scott would like to give a huge thank you to: Carlos Gonzalez-Fernandez, Karina Bush, Thom Young, Christina Hart, and Kyle Kouri for all of their support! 

RMMW: What are you working on now?

SL: I’m planning the perfect bank robbery. I know where and when it’s going to be, I just haven’t decided who my two accomplices will be yet. It’ll be way easier than writing another novel, though. And it’ll pay way better. My mom’s getting old and she’s always wanted a house with a nice big porch. I feel guilty I haven’t been able to buy it for her yet.

RMMW: Do you feel paying for editing services is a necessity for an author? 

SL: It depends on what kind of writer you want to be, but for me the answer is yes. Of course, I’ve always been fortunate enough to have a publisher pay for it, or a professional on the team who’s done it for cheap. I just feel like not having an extra set of eyes is like recording an album without tuning your guitar. This body of work will represent you forever if you don’t quit.
RMMW: Would you recommend authors pay for editing services?

SL: Yes, but they need to be careful. My first book of poetry sold pretty well somehow, and this was before social media. My publisher gave me all the money in a lump sum and I immediately handed it all over to an editor for my novel (Play The Devil). The person I chose had already been my editor when I was writing for a really big New York blog, so I thought she was perfect for it. But all she did was take my money, change like two things in the book, and never talk to me again.

It was a horrible experience. It was the first (but not the last) time I’d really been fucked over in the art world. I was so disgusted and confused and totally out of money, so I just had my publisher at the time put out the half-edited book. I was never happy with it and I always knew it was like 60% of what it was supposed to be. Luckily, some people have integrity and care about art. My old publisher, Kuboa, agreed to hand the rights back over to me. It’s currently being edited by a real pro named Maura Power, and as soon as I think it’s perfect, Bone Machine will publish it.

RMMW: Why was it important for you to re-edit your book Play The Devil?

SL: While the last editor was not editing but taking forever to get the manuscript back, I’d rewritten and added about 100 pages. I tied up a lot of loose ends, etc. But when the manuscript came back so much time had passed, I felt like I was wasting my publishers time, so I never added the new stuff. And it’s eaten at me ever since.

RMMW: What support system do you feel writers need to have in place?

SL: I'm the wrong person to ask about this kind of thing. I've always hated scenes. Boxing is the only sport I watch because it's one man, constantly against the ropes, either getting his ass kicked or beating the odds. And that's how I've always looked at writing. When I first started, I’d show my friends, but none of them ever cared so I got used to doing it alone. I know something is good when publications publish it. I use their approval/disproval to decide what’s worth putting out into the world.
RMMW: Tell us a bit about your new poetry book, is there an underlying theme?
SL: No, not really. My first book (Hawaiian Shirts In The Electric Chair) was published when I was in college so the themes were girls, drugs, and starting my move to NYC. My second book (Bone House) is a lot about bosses, jobs, NYC, etc, trying to find my place in this “thing”. My new book - Camp Winapooka - I think, is all of those things combined, and my general belief that it’s over now, that we’re all either dead and on the other side, or we’re in some final march into the last years of humanity.

It’s not nihilistic though. Right around the time of #OccupyWallStreet I could feel the world shifting, and the 99% were either going to take the reins and steer the world back on course, or it was going off like an old elephant who knew its time was up. A spiritual war happened that those who were tuned in could feel playing out in real time. And we lost. And I’m ok with that now. I feel like I’ve eaten the peyote and rubbed the womb of the sun.

RMMW: What's your favourite book written by you?

SL: They each represent a time in my life. The most recent one is always my favorite because it's who I am now. And whenever I finish a new one, I look back at the old ones, and I'm horrified by how bad the writing is.

RMMW: What's the craziest subject you've ever written about?

SL: I wrote an article about the Reptilian Agenda once, way before it became mainstream, that got pretty weird. Basically, I was trying to prove that Mario and Luigui (of Super Mario Bros.) were a metaphor trying to warn us about being enslaved by shape-shifting lizards.  I was on message boards reading first-hand accounts by people who said they'd been raped by invisible lizards and they were describing the Reptilian penis and other really gross things.

RMMW: What odd jobs have you taken to support yourself as a writer?

SL: I drove five supermodels and a trunk full of mustard around the tri-state for a few months. We were hired by a French mustard company to go to grocery stores and sell mustard. I'd drive and help set-up and the models would flirt with dads grocery shopping. We'd work for about 20 minutes, then go to an Applebee's and get smashed, and bill the mustard company for like 10 hours of work.

RMMW: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? 

SL: When I was really young the state fairs had freak shows in the back, maybe they still do. Behind the hog auctions and pie bake-offs there was a tent with the world’s fattest man, two headed-deer, bearded women, stuff like that. I remember being shocked that no one else in my family wanted to look at this stuff but me. That really sparked my interest in weird subcultures, cryptozoology, etc. I spend all of my time reading, so when I come across something insane that I’ve never heard about, that’s usually a good sign it needs more exposure, and it keeps researching and writing about it from getting boring.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Interview with Poet, MK McWilliams

MK McWilliams is a soulful writer that simply wants to earn a living with her writing.  I guess, that’s all any of us ever wants, to earn an income doing something that we love.  It’s quite the difficult task but luckily MK is not giving up any time soon – which is wonderful news for us as we now have the opportunity to be exposed to her writing on a much larger scale – especially once her new book Stereospace comes out!  For more information on when Stereospace will be released and other updates on MK I suggest you follow her on Instagram @mkmcwilliams .

RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?

MKM: I am usually inspired randomly, at least in terms of poetry, so I don't have time for rituals, I need to get the ideas down as quickly as possible. When I work on fiction, I like to think about the main characters and setting and make information sheets to refer to and inspire the action. I usually do this before writing any actual prose.

RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked if yes, how did you over come it?

MKM: Yes, I find myself creatively blocked quite often. What gets me through is my general outlook on writing. Some days, the words flow freely and naturally. Some days it works so well, and I feel this is something I'm meant to be doing, a calling, if you will. And then other days, I can't bring myself to write a single word. So, I take the good with the bad, and realize that whatever is happening right now, may be completely different tomorrow. I try to ride those highs, write as much as possible when I'm inspired. I think it's important to always write. There are those who say if you want to be a writer, you need to force yourself to write everyday. There is certainly some truth to that, you absolutely need to do the work. But I also think giving your mind a break sometimes is what is necessary.

RMMW: Who is your favourite indie poet to read?

MKM: I have so many! I read poetry everyday, sometimes all day long, so I am constantly trying to find new people to read. I can't list everyone here, but I will say, I just read Elise Emersyn's book "Drowning Back to Life" and it slayed me. The trauma and resurrection of it was so raw and relatable.

RMMW: Does writing energize or exhaust you?

MKM: Definitely both. When I am inspired and, on a roll, I feel pumped and excited. It's almost as if nothing can stop me for that sweet (often too short) amount of time. But when I pause or finish for the day, I feel depleted. It takes a lot of emotional and intellectual energy to write all the time and I often feel my brain is fried after a long writing session.

RMMW: What is the first book that made you cry?

MKM: Probably, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It was that first childhood lesson of unconditional love and the lack of appreciation from the other side of things.

RMMW: What is your writing kryptonite?

MKM: I hate that I procrastinate, but I do. So, any distraction is kryptonite. I don't have a TV near my workspace anymore and it's for good reason.

RMMW: Do you think someone could be a writer if they do not feel emotions strongly?

MKM: I think anyone can be a writer if they try hard enough and just do the work. But being a writer who connects with people, who tells stories that reach people? I think you need to feel emotions in order to accomplish that. You need to know how to bring out emotions from your readers, and you can't do that if you don't feel them very much yourself.

RMMW: If you could tell your younger writing self anything what would it be?

MKM: Don't stop. Don't worry about traditional success, don't listen to everyone else saying that you need to find a well-paying job. Write and keep writing and you will be so happy that everything else will fall into place. But you need to do the work!

RMMW: How did publishing your first book change your writing process, if at all?

MKM: I went about this in perhaps a non-traditional way in that it was not planned out. I actually started with another theme for the book altogether, and what came about to change it happened so naturally. So, I don't know if my process changed much because it's how I often work. But I think definitely, in terms of writing to a theme, collecting pieces to fit to the theme is new for me and I really enjoyed it. It's a single piece of art with many parts and I love that.

RMMW: What does literary success look like to you?

MKM: At the base level, literary success for me is writing (almost) everyday and enjoying the work. My dream is to make some kind of living off of it. To be able to say that writing full time is my day job will truly make my professional life complete. But if that never happens, I am content doing this anyway, writing out my feelings, creating pieces out of simple ideas. It truly brings me joy, so I could never complain.

RMMW: Do you view writing as a spiritual practice?
MKM: It absolutely can be. For me, it's not always. But when my passion for it comes through and I am letting the words flow and not even needing to think about it, that feels a bit like I'm on another plane. Perhaps "spiritual" is the perfect word to describe it.

RMMW: How many hours a day do you write?

MKM: This definitely just depends on the day! Some days I write nothing, some I write for an hour or two, and then there are those magical days where I write from morning to night.

RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?

MKM: I think if I were to choose one, it would be telekinesis as I think it's the most versatile. But if it were based on my actual personality, I would probably have the power of invisibility. I like observing people and the world around me.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Interview with Poet, Kinga Iwanicki

I’m always in awe of writers who allow their imagination to flourish through the work – just like that of the poetry of Kinga Iwanicki. I’ve reviewed Kinga’s work before and found it to be very profound, thoughtful and honest.  No doubt Kinga’s answers throughout the interview reflect the care she takes in writing her poetry. I’d like to invite you all to follow Kinga on Instagram @therosycrucifixion .

RMMW:  Have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, how did you overcome it?

KI: I have a rather unique relationship with creativity, I allow it to come to me. it is a mental space, an openness. Of course, there at times when I sit down to write and nothing comes, in those instances I just sit quietly with myself and enjoy the peace of that moment.

RMMW:  We all have an inner critic; how do you contend with yours?

KI: This can be rather challenging for me, as the idea of "perfection" sits heavy. But as I've come to realize, perfection or the idea of, is something subjective. For me, finding an okayness within the imperfections, whatever those may be in that moment is the biggest overcoming.

RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new poem?

KI: Not really. If I'm lucky then a feeling rolls through me and I'm able to make peace with it and let it go quickly. If I'm stuck within the feeling then I'll pull out my favorite writers and begin to jot down words that appeal to me, usually ones evoking the very feeling that is lodged in my throat. Or I'll pull out a line that speaks to me and through that found inspiration something comes.

RMMW: What is your first writing memory?

KI: I always had a dream journal when I was little. I suppose that the fascination with the other elements of reality and how they shape us and we them have always played a role.

RMMW: What do you feel good poetry ought do?

KI: Evoke an emotion, a feeling, a connection. Not to the author but to ourselves.

RMMW: What is your favourite poetic style to write in?

KI: I don't have a set style of preferred structure. For me, it is just whatever flows through.

RMMW: What prompted you to write poetry?

KI: You know, it was quite random. I had always enjoyed expression through words, but poetry just happened at a specific time in my life. And through that it propelled a reaction within me. It was a literal start to something so much greater, about which I am still learning about.

RMMW:  How do you manage your work life balance?

KI: I'm complete shit at it. Whoever decided that working 40 hour weeks was a thing needs to die an excruciating death. But in all seriousness, I take time to myself as much as I can. Weather early in the morning or late evening. My well being depends on my indulgence into creativity. Without it, I'm no good to anyone, trust me.

RMMW: I still remember your ouroboros poem, it's my utmost favourite.  What is your favourite piece written by you?

KI: Thank you!!! It means so much to me if someone finds connection in anything that I write. As for a favorite of mine, I don't have one. It would vary with mood I suppose.

RMMW: What do you feel is the poet’s role in today's society?

KI: To bring about connection to what matters, by touching upon things unspoken, bruised and nameless, who lie withered at the bottom of some dumpster outside of your grandmother's apartment on 7th Street. Poets are the mothers and fathers of change, openness and love.

RMMW: Where do you write?

KI: Literally anywhere. My idea setting would be somewhere peaceful and in nature, away from distractions. Though, sometimes, it is the distractions that inspire. So here we are.

RMMW: What is the relationship between your speaking and writing voice?

KI: My speaking voice is very direct and present in the now. My writing is the undercurrent of my emotional self. It is the truest depiction of who I am at that moment in time.

RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?

KI: To awaken everyone's third eye and give them the ability to realize that everything we search for lies within. That they are the embodiment of love, and that the whole universe is love. Only through LOVE and self awareness can we propel change and begin to heal.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Interview with Poet, Jesse Lee Staggs

Jesse Lee Staggs has penned two books: Of Paper Cuts and Origami Hearts & Remnants From The Reliquary.  Jesse also helps to contribute to the world of poetry via being a co-curator of Subtle Poetz and Co-Founder #momanddadlivepoetry.   I have to admit, I tune into to #momanddadlivepoetry to watch Jesse and Jennifer since I first found out about it.  And, the dynamic between the two is something to behold. They not only discuss poetry but read some of the loveliest pieces I’ve heard! You should really tune in this Tuesday night at 9:00 pm EST.  For more information on Jesse check out his Instagrams @white_stag_poetry & @mom.n.popspoetrystop .

RMMW: We all have to contend with an inner critic, how do you deal with yours?

JLS: I usually dislike my own writing. I keep a couple of first readers that will let me know an honest opinion of my work.

RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked?  If yes, how did you overcome it?

JLS: Usually I will simply not write when the words aren’t flowing. Other times I will revisit older pieces in my notebook and tinker with them until something grows out of them. I find it best not to force the words as that always produces rubbish.

RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new book?

JSL: I don’t have any sort of rituals or anything when it comes to my writing. I seldom ever sit down with the intention to write unless I felt inspired to write something at that moment. Most of my writing is off the cuff and inspiration for a piece can come at any moment.

RMMW: Tell us a little bit about being a co-curator at Subtle Poetz -- what is the origin story of Subtle Poetz?

JSL: Curating for a page can be different depending on the guidelines for that specific page. With Subtlepoetz the creator and leader of the team, Briant L. Brown, pretty much lets us share what we like. I tend to focus on sharing work from accounts with fewer than 1,000 followers, taking pieces from my personal feed as well as from the people that use the hashtag or submit via DMs. I personally am only responsible for one day a week but, we’re given a lot of freedom to post on other days as well if we see something that we feel needs to be shared.

RMMW: Can poets apply to be featured or are they hand picked for Subtle Poetz?

JLS: To be featured you only have to use the hashtag #subtlepoetz or submit via the Direct message platform. We try to mix it up a bit so just because you use the hashtag or submit doesn’t always guarantee you a feature every time.

RMMW: At what age did you start writing?

JLS:  I’ve been writing creatively most of my life but only really started to consider it something that I wanted to do and share in the past few years. I began sharing my work on the Insta platform in 2015.

RMMW: What is it about Poetry you relish so most?

JLS: While I find a lot of poets, myself included will write about their own experiences or feelings, emotions and whatnot, I enjoy the telling of micro stories as well in a rhyme scheme not unlike some more of the classical poets.  I enjoy that the most.

RMMW: What is your favourite poetic style to write in?

JLS: I prefer writing in rhyme but have been known to jump all over the place with regards to styles and structures.  Even the freeform style so popular nowadays has its place in my body of works.

RMMW: Where you do enjoy writing most?

JLS: I tend to write in my home office but really, anywhere I happen to be when the inspiration hits me will do.

RMMW: Tell us a little bit about being a co host to #momanddadlivepoetry?

JLS: Mom and Dad lives just kind of happened one day. My girlfriend Jennifer, (untamedwildpoetry)  and I decided to do an impromptu live one day and the people who were in the audience gave the show its name. So, we ran with it and it really is a show more than just a live poetry reading. The characters of Mom and Dad are really just exaggerated versions of our own personalities and so far, the audience seems to enjoy it.

RMMW: How long did it take you to write your books?

JLS: My first book was put together start to finish in one solid week. The second took a bit longer due to some technical issues. Having been writing poetry for a few years solidly, I had and still have a large archive of work to draw on. My next books will be more of a collection of pieces centered around cohesive themes. So, I still have some writing to do to flesh out those.

RMMW: What do you feel good poetry ought to do?

JLS: Good poetry, to me good poetry is in the eye of the readers. But also, I define a good poem as anything well written that packs an emotional or thought-provoking punch. Above all else it must be entertaining, just as any artform should be.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Interview with Poet, Don Beckworth

You know each and every time I interview a different writer, whether they be a poet or novelist I’m always faced with something immensely unique. The way in which each one of us writes creating a special world of out own that’s impenetrable from outside forces. Don Beckworth is a very prolific scribe that has written a handful of eclectic books that will leave you questioning your own imagination and purpose. For more information on Don check out his website and give a follow on Instagram @authordonbeckworth .

RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked?  If es, how did you overcome it?

DB: Absolutely. I've been going back to school for the last year. It occupies a large portion of my time and my mind. My mind is, quite literally, too tired to think or to imagine. Along with school, I go through phases, like all artists, when the words simply do not come. When I try to write during these phases, I always feel like I'm writing empty words. (If that makes sense) The way I overcome this is to simply open up a word doc on my phone, and start typing the first words to come to mind. Then I build on them until I'm satisfied with the outcome. Other times, you might judge me for this, but I get a little tipsy, I watch stupid cheesy movies or bad horror movies, and I usually find a trigger; something that sparks an image. And I immediately start to write. I don't force myself to write. I also refuse to write just for the sake of writing. I also, for good or bad, refuse to adhere to any single style.

RMMW: We all have to contend with an inner critic, how do you deal with yours?

DB: My inner critic is a douchebag. "No one cares", "No one's reading", "look, your book sales are still nonexistent", "oh hey, your photo sales suck too". "Why are you wasting your time?"  I'm struggling, almost daily, with these types of thoughts.  I've been at it now for nearly 8 years, and I don't think I'm any further than when I began. But, it isn't about sales.  Here's how I handle the down-talker inside my head. I write about something. I immerse myself into a scene and stay there until I feel it has been perfected. I write until I feel better. Basically. Then, there are days when it's just tough. These days require a good audiobook or good music. It's okay to distract yourself, I think. Occasional mediation helps too.

RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new book?
DB: Nope! I write until I feel like I've got enough for a small book, then I edit (also I hate to edit my own work) and publish. Each of my books is varied in subject-matter. Very eclectic.

RMMW: Do you ever people watch to get ideas for your books?

DB: What writer alive doesn't? We, by nature, are people watchers. Not in a creepy way, well, not always, but just watching what people do, say, how they react. Half of my bar napkin stories are based on watching people while sitting at a bar or while I'm out walking during my lunch.

RMMW: Do you write longhand or right to the computer?

DB: That depends. I write now through Google Docs. I start a new doc each month. That way I can access it on my phone or tablet or pc. (Not Mac, cough cough). In fact, believe it or not, almost all my poetry is written that way. My last 3 books were written that way.  I still use paper and pen now and then.  It helps me flesh out words on some topics. I tend to use the computer for short stories or longer scenes though. It's just easier.

RMMW: Where does your inspiration come from?

DB: Pretty much anywhere. I wax poetical watching birds and trees and those big ass carpenter bees on my patio. I have yet to use my patio this spring. They frighten me. Not patios, the bees. I get inspiration from tv and movies. I also get inspiration from books I've read. I think we all do. A good source of inspiration is the news. My Aleppo series is based on news photos posted online. I stare at the photos, or read the articles, and try to write a poetic interpretation of them. The trick is to read between the lines. Try to envision yourself at the scene. BUT, I always always always feel like if I write a certain way, someone will try to call me out for having never been there or never been in the military or never been homeless, for example. I'm very self-conscious that way. Occasionally, I attempt to write what I've dreamt about. I have had a series of recurring dreams, er um, nightmares that I'm convinced are all interconnected. Weird right? But, all that being said, I don't always go looking for inspiration. Sometimes it just comes to me when I'm in the middle of a meeting or working on code for homework or driving somewhere.
RMMW: What's your favourite book written by you?

DB: Probably either The Grocery Store or Behind the Rhododendron. The second book listed was 
actually a submission of poems for a chapbook contest. The reviewer told me my work was contrived and a way for me to deal with my existence. The review was actually very personally directed. I took offense to it. So, I renamed the book, did some editing, and self-published it out of spite. Probably bad Karma in that, but I did it and there it is. My longest book is Tipsy Turn-a-Phrase, over 500 pages.

RMMW: Who is your favourite character created by you?

DB: That's hard to decide.  It's either Martyr Mary or Mister Tick Tick. Both have a few poems in series. Both are horror series.

RMMW: Do you think a good book can change one’s life?

DB: Of course. The first book I ever read that did that was Anne Rice's Memnoch the Devil. It opened my mind to a new way of thinking.  I would also recommend Lord of the Rings, Dante's Divine Comedy, and anything by HP Lovecraft or Algernon Blackwood. If I had to pick a favorite, because I know that's what you're thinking:  Stephen King's IT.  I keep the audiobook version of It and I have two first editions. I read it at least once a year.  Second behind that is Salem's Lot and Pet Sematary. Obviously :)

RMMW: How long does it take you to write a book?

DB: One to Two months typically. That being said, I have over 2,000 poems that need to be edited and put into book form. But I'm not so good with editing, and I justify not putting the books together because I'm working on school work. Saying that, I am perfectly open to having someone edit, illustrate it, publish it, and split any profit made on it. Shameless plug, feel free to edit this one out :)

RMMW: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

DB: I didn't. I sort of just started writing. I have a notebook of poems I wrote while in high school, most of which only I’ve ever seen. My first poem was written in 9th grade and got an honorable mention at the district literary competition that year.

RMMW: Does writing energize or exhaust you?

DB: Both. Depends on the write. I have a habit of mentally stepping into a scene, completely. I've written things that have made me cry. I've written things that have relaxed me. So on and so on.

RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?

DB: To immediately shed bad fat! You know, so I always stay in shape! Honestly, though, I've never really thought about it. All the powers have pros and cons. Maybe I'm overthinking it. I always tell my wife that I'm just a dirty old man. So, probably super eyes. Eyes that x-ray and move things any way I want them to. Sorry, That's just evil....

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Interview with Jewelry Designer, MaryAnne McCabe

I remember about a decade and a half or so ago – I had put poetry on the back burner to design jewelry.  There’s something so tedious, comforting and time consuming about stringing little seed beads. I can see designing: rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings as a source of stress relief.  I genuinely enjoy engaging with those I interview to showcase the best of who they are. Sometimes like in this interview difficult subjects come up but there is always a sense of healing and resolve when you listen to the pain of others and see how they have positively prospered from that pain. MaryAnne McCabe has done just that her jewelry designs are a great source of comfort for her as she creates her very unique pieces.  It’s obvious MaryAnne is a true artisan with a very good heart and immense talent.   I’d like to take the opportunity to invite you all to follow MaryAnne on Instagram @maryannemccabe . 

RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked?  If yes, how did you overcome it?

MAM: Absolutely. I get inspiration and ideas that pop into my head when I am doing things non jewelry related. Especially in hardware store. Omg the Copper wire draws me in, I may not have intended to make anything specific -- Them bam!  Look at that 4-gage copper wire😜. Walking and looking at the colors in nature is my color wheel. I don't follow rules.... Exercise is a huge part of my life... Get the ideas flowing.

RMMW: We all have to deal with our inner critic, how do you contend with yours?
MAM: The inner critic I am and have always been my own worst enemy – in all things. So just as in life, I know as long as I give it 100%. That's all I can do. I do strive to learn and improve, I don't compare to others. I do raise the bar with all my pieces

RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new jewelry piece?

MAM: No rituals.

RMMW:  What do you relish most about jewelry design?

MAM: For me my jewelry is not about "it's a vehicle" to open dialogue for issues that no ones talks about. Suicide has always been taboo. People who feel hopeless need to know they are not alone. There is HOPE. I have meet do many people who just come in and start talking. It has been a blessing.

And of course, I have met so many people who know or have been on dialysis. So that ties in my kidney donation. Definitely my finest moment in life. I was the one who got the gift of life
I love jewelry design because like art. There is grey. Not black and white. So many ways the achieve a design. Mix and match techniques, make it your own – my ideas just flow.

RMMW: What is your favourite piece created by you, do you also design rings, and do you do custom orders?

MAM: I absolutely love my new coin pieces. Yes, I do make rings with wire copper pipe.
And yes do custom orders. I unfortunately have been hosed by some customers after working on and order. Learning to get down payment first.

RMMW: What are your favourite artist tools to work with?

MAM: Tools. Probably a hammer. I am self taught and would love to learn to solder.

RMMW: Did you go to school to study jewelry design or are you self taught?

MAM: I am self taught 100% just started in 2010.

RMMW: What kind of materials do you feel work well together for the purpose of jewelry design?

MAM: I love beads. Mixing the colors and textures with mixed metals is probably my favorite things. I usually have an idea. Then it changes into something totally different.

RMMW: If you had a super power what would it be?

MAM: Super power. Easy, make someone smile. That them know hope exits; "jewelry that makes you smile.” My brother committed suicide in 2010. That is when I started to make jewelry. I was in a totally different field. Fast forward.  My goal it to have people feel better about themselves after they come to my shop. I have developed a wonderful relationship with the customers in my market. A blessing.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Interview with Poet & Advocate, Amy Turberville

Founder and EIC of Wildflower Warriors, Amy Turberville is such a strong advocate when it comes to fighting for the rights of women all over the world through poetry and writing.  We should all be so brave as to scribe against oppression especially when it comes to abuse against women.  It’s such an important subject that constantly gets dusted under the carpet and now is the time to say enough is enough and support those women who have been so brutally raped or assaulted as their freedom of expression prospers.  Letting them know they are not alone. 

And, before I forget, Amy wanted me to remind everyone that Wildflower Warriors and The Angel in the Darkness are both available for free at Apple iBook’s & Blurb.  Soft covers are of course available on Amazon and B&N.  For more information on Amy give her a follow on Instagram @theangelinthedarkness and of course of @wildflower_warriors .

RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked?  If yes, how did you overcome it?

AT: Yes! What writer hasn’t 😂 I have learned to just take a step back & not force it. Creativity ebbs & flows naturally. In the past I would try to write to prompts/images to break writer’s block, but more times than not, it would end up in aching mediocrity. So now I just go with the flow.

RMMW: We all have an inner critic how do you contend with yours?

AT: My inner critic is a complete bitch. Seriously, no one is harder on myself than me. I think the majority of my work is complete crap. Luckily most people tend to disagree. And from their support I have found the strength to keep writing and sharing my story.

RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?

AT: I do not. I write whenever inspiration hits. I am always writing snippets on my phone. But for the most part I just need a pen & my journal.

RMMW: At what age did you start writing?

AT: Around 2nd or 3rd grade, I began writing poetry. I read a lot of Shel Silverstein, Mother Goose, & classic fairy tales & fables. My parents were both avid readers & English teachers, so it came naturally I suppose.

RMMW: Tell us a bit about Wildflower Warriors...

AT: Wildflower Warriors is an Instagram support community for survivors of sexual assault, rape, & domestic violence. It grew out of the survivor-based anthology “Wildflower Warriors” that I curated & self-published to raise awareness about these traumatic issues.

RMMW: Why was it important for you to found Wildflower Warriors?

AT: Before the #metoo movement took off, people rarely discussed the taboo topics of rape & abuse openly; and when they did, I noticed that their stories/poems were often overlooked by the vast majority of feature pages in the Instagram #poetrycommunity in favor of softer pieces with mass appeal. I knew that there were others out there just like me that needed their stories to be heard. Enter @wildflower_warriors.

RMMW: Who are your favourite poets?

AT: I have always hated picking favorites. I tend to root for the underdog. I like poets that express themselves genuinely. And generally, disdain mass appeal.

RMMW: Where is your favourite place to write?

AT: At home, usually on the couch or at the dining table.

RMMW: How many unfinished manuscripts do you have?

AT: I currently have two book projects I am working on. One I hope to be releasing later this year.

RMMW: What is the first book that made you cry?

AT: Probably Animal Farm by George Orwell, I have never gotten over Napoleon selling Boxer to the glue factory.

RMMW: Does writing energize or exhaust you?

AT: Oh, it definitely energizes me! I use it as my primary means of relieving anxiety & depression. Writing is so cathartic. It has healed me more than anything else.

RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?

AT: The ability to heal the world would be awesome.