Dad was an artist who emphasized the importance of craft; Hal [my brother] was a craftsman who emphasized the importance of art.”
How did you discover that you were a writer?
My earliest memory is of my mother reading me stories, so that is my conscious starting point. Also, during my childhood my father was a wordsmith who wrote in genres ranging from short stories to highly intellectual articles for theology journals, and my older brother Hal enjoyed writing nonsense verse and eventually grew into a serious songwriter and musician. Dad was an artist who emphasized the importance of craft; Hal was a craftsman who emphasized the importance of art. Their collective influence was certainly in the neighborhood when I started scribbling little poems at the age of 12 or 13.
Describe your writing process.
For commissioned freelance pieces I generally write at night, with 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. being the sweet-spot. Mornings and afternoons are for research, editing, and revision.
My creative writing process is hit-and-run. Initially I put words down without any structural concerns; if it calls me back, I bring tools to shore up the structure. For poetry the return call may come after a few minutes, a few days, or a few years—if at all. If the writing leans toward prose, eventually it will likely be finished off within the “10-to-2/edit in the morning” frame.
At present all of my writing takes place in my poorly lit basement office. It’s a beautiful spot.
What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?
I’ll be reading two pieces from Winter Sun: A Memoir of Love and Hospice; the inspiration is contained within the title.
What are you working on now?
Currently I am editing and designing Priests Without People, a novel by Nicholas P. Cafardi scheduled to be published by The Ross House Press in April.
The Ross House Press is an imprint of Canopic Publishing that has been established as an alternative for authors who want control of the production and distribution of their work but don’t have the expertise for self-publishing (RossHousePress.com).
What was the last great thing you read by another author?
“Letter to Miss McClurg,” a poem by Gene Kimmet that won’t let go.
You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which writer, dead or alive, do you invite?
Jonathan Swift. To awkwardly borrow a baseball metaphor he wouldn’t understand, his work demonstrates the ability to master any literary position. Probably good at keeping the conversation going, too.