Guinotte Wise–Interview

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

Guinotte Wise: Sort of a nook in the kitchen, looks like a Denny’s. If I want a Grand Slam, I cook it myself. My wife has an honest job fifty miles away and not much time.

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

GW: MacBook Pro. Does that make me a pro? Stylist pens for jotting. I was given an elegant Mont Blanc but I forget to fill it so it gathers dust. It would add class to a pocket of my ragged chore coat, though. I’d get respect at the feed store.

TMR: What is your routine for writing?

GW: I’m like a bush pilot. Whenever the thing starts I fly it. Lately I’ve been trying to prepare for a sculpture show in Los Angeles, so that eats into my writing time.

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

GW: Since I learned to read and write. I had a little press when I was a kid, rubber type, I made a sort of newspaper, wrote libelous stuff about neighbors, put it out on the street. I worked in advertising for years, writing.

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

GW: Anyone who likes a little noir, libelous stuff about neighbors, a poem, a story.

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

GW: Everything inspires me. When I’m stuck, I weld—that unsticks me.

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

GW: I dance, play golf. Actually I caddied, which made me hate golf. I only dance for my dogs, who seem to enjoy it. I’m a sculptor. There is no balance in my life.

TMR: What is your favorite part of the creative process?

GW: The part where you can go do something else.

TMR: What is your advice to aspiring writers?

GW: Ron Carlson said, I’m paraphrasing, the best writing he ever did was twenty minutes after he wanted to leave the room. And I think it’s a good idea not to share what you write until after it’s quite done. My official advice is take no advice. Why would anyone take my advice anyway? I drive a 15-year-old truck, I limp, my last royalty check was $12.74.

Blog: http://www.wisesculpture.com/blog/

Resume Speed (Shorts) https://goo.gl/9GUaGv

Ruined Days (Thriller) http://goo.gl/LMXKSu

More books http://goo.gl/O9mBki

Check out Guinotte’s work in the issue, Volume 3, Issue 1.

 

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Frances Howard-Snyder–Interview

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

Frances Howard-Snyder: I mostly work at home. I have a small nook off the kitchen with a messy desk. I can often hear my children in other parts of the house, which is mostly good and sometimes a distraction. Sometimes I find a table in a cafe and work there with headphones.

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

FHS: I usually write the very first draft by hand, and then type it up. I like to read a hard copy and make notes and then do more revisions on the computer. When I first came back to writing fiction five years ago, I wrote in pencil so that it would be easier to erase.

TMR: What is your routine for writing?

FHS: I try to write something every day but I don’t have a regular routine. Sometimes I write a lot and sometimes I write a little.

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

FHS: I started thinking seriously about writing when I was 16. But I’ve had long periods when I’ve done other things. I returned to it really seriously five years ago.

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

FHS: Intelligent people.

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

FHS: Read good writers. Just write whatever comes into my head. Mostly what comes out is garbage but sometimes I hit a vein of gold that I can use and then trash the rest.

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

FHS: Teach and read and write philosophy, play with my children and husband, walk around my beautiful lake (Lake Padden in Bellingham) read, watch Shakespeare, play chess.

TMR: What is your favorite part of the creative process?

FHS: I love the first draft. But I also love revision, carving something beautiful out of the big messy rock of first draft.

TMR: What is your advice to aspiring writers?

FHS: Write a lot. Submit a lot. Don’t get discouraged when your work is rejected. Keep failing better.

https://franceshowardsnyder.wordpress.com/

Check out Frances’s work in the issue, Volume 3, Issue 1.

 

Doug Bolling–Interview

 

  1. I work at home, usually in the same spot, favorite chair.

Though with sometimes a bit of roaming around room

To room in and out of shadows and sunlight, the coffee

And CDs helping. I like to think of Montaigne’s comments

About hiding away from the world’s distractions in his

Tower to trigger the writing. Once I lived in France for

A year and a half or so, thought it would be cool to

Scribble poems on scratch paper in the bistros along

The Left Bank—it didn’t work. Too many marvels

Going on table by table!

 

2. A pen begins it, carries on awhile then to the keyboard

Or typewriter. 0f course, it’s the mysterious little inner

Pen that drives the wagon.)

 

.       3.  No routine. It’s always something sudden, unexpected.

Once the spark comes it might go on for hours then dies

by its own rhythm.

 

  1. A long time.  Still remember with a shudder more or less

trying at age 11 or 12 to write a novel. Got maybe three

or four pages and gave up. But when I began again some years

ago I started with short stories then to poetry.

 

  1. (oops my cranky laptop won’t let me keep the left margin)

Just anyone who’s interested in joining the journey,

Preferably those who are already reading poetry, whether

Critically or for more or less innocent enjoyment.

 

  1. I believe it’s the absolute love of writing, wanting/needing to

Immerse in imagery, rhythm, how lines break, etc.

Blocking out happens often. Once, I tried to defeat it by

An act of will so to speak. Have since learned to let go,

Disappear. It comes when it comes, goes where it goes.

 

  1. Roaming, reading, getting out to rediscover the great green

Earth before it turns to cinders, connect with fellow sojourners.

 

  1. Hard to exclude anything much. Two moments do stand out.

 

  1. First, when an idea or image or line from another writer

(thinking here often of Pessoa, Lorca, Neruda) strikes

home and I have to do something with it. Then, later on,

the moments when the poem seems finally rounding out

and I get the confidence that I can bring it in.

 

  1. In another life I taught writing workshops and giving advice

went with the ice cream—but I back away from that now,

would rather leave it to others who know much more than I.

Something like figure out if writing is your love, your passion

And if it is go for it full speed, meaning both through the

Garden times and the blocks!  There may be wonders down

That rabbit hole.

Check out Doug’s work in the issues Volume 2, Issue 1 and Volume 3, Issue 1.

 

Devon Balwit–Interview

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

Devon Balwit: I write at home at a standing desk made from a huge stack of books by a window that looks out over the neighbor’s roof.  If I’m lucky, I get to watch flickers and crows drop by.

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

DB: I compose and edit on my laptop.  I love the immediate versatility it gives me for moving things around and changing word forms/verb tenses.

TMR: What is your routine for writing?

DB: I’m an insomniac.  I often wake up at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m.  If I can’t sleep for a couple more hours, I get up and start writing.  Either way, I’m upstairs writing by 5:00 or so.  I write until I leave to teach at 8:00.  I write again after work from about 4:00 until 9:00.  When I say “write,” I mean a mix of writing new poems, editing old ones, sending things off for publication, and trying to put together chapbook/book manuscripts.

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

DB: I have been a writer since I was in middle school, so for 40 years.

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

DB: I write for any reader who responds to what I have to say.  I submit eclectically, and am happy to have published my work in feminist reviews, reviews that I think are read by younger people, those that I sense might be read by older people, “edgy, ” experimental reviews, and more traditional ones.

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

DB: I am never blocked as everything inspires me.  I write poems inspired by images, quotations from books that I am reading, prompts, experiences I’ve had throughout the day, political events, conversations, dreams, and other poets’ poems.

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

DB: I play Frisbee with my goofy yellow lab, Oliver.  I take two or three walks with him throughout the day.  I love to read novels in both French and Spanish.

TMR: What is your favorite part of the creative process?

DB: Tapping that final period and rereading what I’ve written aloud.

TMR: What is your advice to aspiring writers?

DB: Do not be deterred by rejection.  Do not feel cowed by people who do not like what or how you write.  Understand that what people respond to–what journals respond to–is subjective.  You must be your own best/worst critic.  Listen to your own poems, interrogate them, see if they sound fresh, see if they are working hard, see if they are reaching.  Experiment with new forms and styles. Don’t be content to do the same thing.  Don’t be snooty about writing/publishing.  And finally expect many many rejections when you submit.  Be ballsy–keep submitting the same poem time after time and to place after place.  Often it takes 5, 6, 7, 10 tries before it finds the right home.  (Of course, revisit poems that have been rejected quite a bit…some DO need to be retired or seriously reworked…).  I am so grateful to a man in my poetry group who said that he has submitted the same poem to 23 or 24 places.  Initially, I would NEVER have thought to do that.

Check out Devon’s work in the issue, Volume 3, Issue 1.

Charlene Langfur–Interview

I think the most important task for a writer is to find their own voice and stick with it through thick and thin and be patient with it if it changes. Poetry takes time and patience and kindness. My view of life is that everything matters, and I try to explore this in my poems and essays and stories. How we can find ways to grow and get past difficulties. Coming of age in the 1960s and 1970s, I was taught by the confessional poet W.D. Snodgrass, who insisted I learn metrics. He emphasized the importance of knowing what I was breaking away from craft-wise, especially if I wrote free verse or in syllabic stress. The confessional poets began writing directly about the personal and about issues, civil rights, women’s rights, war and peace, most of all about the environment. I was a Syracuse University Graduate Writing Fellow at that time, and I am an organic gardener now, so I write about the land’s importance as much as possible. Adrienne Rich, one of the best contemporary poets of our time, tells us poetry is a dream of a common language for us all. I agree.

Charlene Langfur

Palm Desert, California

Check out Charlene’s work in the issues Volume 1, Issue 2 and Volume 3, Issue 1.

 

Cathy Whittaker–Interview

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

Cathy Whittaker: I work at home in what once was my daughter’s bedroom – a tiny box room which I have converted to my office. It is tightly packed with books, untidy papers, and photographs stuck on the walls.

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

CW: Usually I write in a notebook first, in pen/pencil, whatever I have to hand. I like to write in a very messy way – I don’t worry about spellings or anything else. I like to feel free to write anything. Often in the mess I find the beginnings of an idea.

TMR: What is your routine for writing?

CW: Once I have captured an idea, then I’m on the computer and working hard. I will get the first draft down and then I wait for a while before I start revising and revising. My routine is erratic – I work whenever I have some free hours. Often early evening and on weekends.

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

CW: I have been writing on and off since I was young. I lived in an isolated part of England – the Lake District – not much to do, so writing and reading took the place of friends. I didn’t take it very seriously until I was lucky enough to take a degree in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham about 10 years ago. It gave me confidence and the desire to share my work with others.

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

CW: Difficult question. I am not sure that I think about an audience when I first write something. Later when I send it out I think of my writer friends as my audience. But I would like my poems to appeal to people who wouldn’t ordinarily read poetry.

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

CW: Sometimes it’s something I see that intrigues me. Other times an idea arrives when I am not even thinking about poetry – walking, driving, any type of housework (one good reason for doing it). It is as if by doing something else my mind wanders off. I also find music very good for finding ideas. If I am blocked I have to wait, be patient, until the ideas arrive again. It’s a bit like playing cat and mouse.

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

CW: I tutor in creative writing and find this very helpful. Keeps me thinking and constantly discovering new writers and ideas. I read a lot. I like looking at trees. Visiting America. Conversation. Friends. Family.

TMR: What is your favorite part of the creative process?

CW: The first time I get the idea and start writing – and know it’s going to work. That’s wonderful. When I am on a roll it’s exciting, dangerous (because often I don’t know where it’s going) and inspiring. It doesn’t happen that often, but when it does it makes it all worthwhile.

TMR: What is your advice to aspiring writers?

CW: Believe in yourself.  Read other poets. Attend workshops and writing groups. Enjoy it.

Check out Cathy’s work in the issue, Volume 3, Issue 1.

 

 

Arthur Davis–Interview

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

Arthur Davis: My creative space is somewhere between my left ear and my right ear, and deep space.

I write from my laptop at home, late at night after work and on most weekends. When I am drafting a story I try and write 2000 words a day. I can do more, but if I do there is less there the next day to draw from.

At the end of the day I always leave something on the ‘table’ for my imagination to work with tomorrow.

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

AD: My laptop.  I don’t make notes or write anything down.  I work through dialogue in my head until the character’s voices are clear and resonate.  If you can’t imagine a character saying something, neither can the reader.

TMR: What is your routine for writing?

AD: I make time to write 3 to 4 late evenings and always on weekends.  Even an hour a day is better than nothing.

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

AD: I have been writing on and off for many years.

However, starting around 1990, I wrote 11 novels over the next decade.

I came to short stories comparatively late. As a novelist many of my early stories were between 8,000 and 15,000 words.  I quickly learned that the market for stories in this range is limited, which led to many rewrites until I was comfortable in the 1500 to 5000, word range.

That retooling of my skill-set took over 2 years.

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

AD: I don’t really have an intended, or ideal audience. I write to please and amuse myself.  Writing brings joy into my life, and I am delighted to share it with the widest audience.

I write horror, dark fantasy, slipstream, science fiction, speculative fiction, crime, epic adventure, magical realism as well as literary fiction and have no particular market.

You could suggest the best plot or idea or character to me, and I wouldn’t know what to do with it.

I’ve written about 140 short stories, and submitted almost 100 in the last 5 years. Since 2012 over seventy tales have been published in 50 online and print journals.  An additional 18 have been picked up as reprints. I was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and inclusion in a Best Mysteries yearly anthology. Eight stories were included in a quarterly, single author anthology, that came out in 2016.

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

AD: I don’t actually relate to inspiration in the sense you are asking.

I see the characters as they move through my imagination. It’s as though you turned on television and watched a movie you never heard of. If the characters and plot are compelling, you will probably watch it through.  If not, you turn it off and walk away.

When I see characters move through space I watch and listen.  If I have any ‘skill’ it’s listening.

I believe if you give your characters time and space, they will tell you a story that you could never have imagined.

Many years ago I attended a book reading in New York City where John Gardner and another author were presenting their latest novels. There was a brief Q&A when the reading ended. One of the questions asked, one that you hear very often was, “where do you get the inspiration for your stories?” A woman in the audience added, “do either of you have a muse?”

I sat in the back of a crowded Barnes & Noble on Broadway and 82nd Street in Manhattan and listened to these successful authors. Neither had a muse. They didn’t believe such creatures existed. My experience was different.

When the muse speaks, I write. When the muse whispers, a story rarely finds its ending and remains incomplete and wanting. When the muse is strident, the imagery is overpowering and I record what unfolds, never knowing how the tale will end until the last paragraph reveals itself to me.

I do not choose what I see, the plot or narratives that lead me on. I accept the gift given, without question or judgment.

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

AD: I am a management consultant specializing in corporate planning and reorganization, and have been quoted in The New York Times, Crain’s New York Business and interviewed on New York TV News Channel 1. I have taught at The New School University, advised The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission, advised Senator John McCain’s investigating committee on boxing reform, appeared as an expert witness on best practices before State Senator Roy Goodman’s New York State Commission on Corruption in Boxing, advised The Department of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs Directorate and lecture on leadership skills to CEO’s and entrepreneurs.

When not working or writing, I am at the gym or speed-walking in Central Park or with friends or in museums, or attending lectures on most everything from science to modern art.

I volunteer for a number of causes.

I live and work in New York City.  It’s all here.

TMR: What is your favorite part of the creative process?

AD: Listening to my characters tell me their story.

I’ve been quite fortunate and am very grateful for the support I’ve received from readers and editors who have taken my efforts to heart.

My favorite is a quote from the editor of a Horror magazine in 2013:

“Final Comments: Freaking BRILLIANT. “The Unwelcome Guest,” is one of the most interesting and funny horror stories I’ve read while on staff. Wow! I loved your story. You had me enraptured through the whole second half. I didn’t even want to stop and edit until I’d made it to the end!

I actually laughed aloud during several parts. That’s hard to accomplish. (I have a reputation for being a stickler.) Fantastic, marvelous job!

This story was flawless! Wonderful work. Thank you so much for submitting and I highly encourage you to submit again if you ever find yourself writing horror.”

TMR: What is your advice to aspiring writers?

AD: Stop overthinking, and write at least 500 words every day.

Nothing will make sense until it is ready to make sense.

No magic here.

Check out Arthur’s work in the issue, Volume 3, Issue 1.