The way I write, which is one of my most common critiques is that I think too much about what the work can say and not enough about what it means to be me: who I am as a person. It’s a problem.
One of the things I like about writing in general is that it’s always open to interpretation, where I can change my style and find what I feel works best for the piece. My wife and I discuss what we’re going to get to work on when we get home from work: do we like the sound of it? Do we like the way it flows? Should we get more details or words or maybe more colour? Then we talk about the idea for the piece, whether it should be really dark, or bright, or something that seems more like a dance music soundtrack. At first we don’t really really have a lot to go on, since we don’t want the final piece to “work,” but then we can kind of pick up on little things like “Oh, how cool is it that this section of the piece seems particularly dramatic? How different does that feel from the last?”
There’s also this problem where I think a lot about my own history and identity, but in a way that’s more about that past than about what the piece means to me right now. Then I can start to think about the future of the piece, maybe the future of me as a writer.
Have you had a chance to read some of your stuff that’s got a really popular readership?
That stuff doesn’t really come out of my mouth. As far as a general idea of what I’m thinking, I think that really big, complicated works that can make you think a lot can be frustrating the first time, but actually can be quite rewarding when you see it come together. For me personally, the best things have a kind of emotional pull to them, they can take you out of yourself and pull you out of the moment. The thing with poetry or prose is it’s not a really good medium for communicating the emotional impact of work to an audience or a reader. I think there’s something really powerful about that.
How should people read your work?
When I was in college and I thought about writing full-time and I’d done a couple of years in the commercial and writing world—where people were talking about that time, and about what they thought I should do—I realized I just didn’t want to do it.
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