Regal House Publishing’s “That’s My Story” initiative seeks to introduce our writers and poets in a more unconventional way. We have supplied our authors with a significant number of unusual questions that pertain to the writing craft, and to various questions of a literary hue (some humorous, some a little twisted!), and others that we thought might be of interest to our audience. Each author selects and answers five, and of those five, Regal staff select two to three of the most delectable to be featured in our “That’s My Story” narrative. So each installment will feature a new author or poet, answering a unique set of questions that offer intriguing insight into their particular approach to the literary craft. While we had fun coming up with a slew of unorthodox questions, we also invite you, at the bottom of the page, to submit your own. What questions do you have that you would like Regal House authors and poets to answer? Let us know, and we will add them to our questionnaire.
So join us, connect with us, and tell us about your own literary story.
How do you think translation affects a story?
I love to study how languages intermingle and shed parts of themselves into each other as they, and we, evolve. Translations are especially hard and yet exciting as so many concepts have no precise translations. Gemuetlichkeit is translated as “coziness” or some such, but languages are so deep and complex, they contain so much more than literal meanings. This word also is suggestive of a sense of acceptance and comfort one finds in social acceptance, or can be evocative of atmosphere. Rhyming slang contains marvelous nuance, the meaning of which can be difficult to convey concisely within a novel but adds significant depth and texture. One might hear in London: “Don’t step on the pickles,” where the speaker wants you not to step on his newly scrubbed stairs, so he says pickles so you may substitute pears, rhyme it with stairs and get his message. I love language interactions! Poetry and plays and dialogue spring naturally from such word plays.
What’s next for me?
Everything. Old and gray and full of sleep at seventy-eight, each day is new. Even old stuff is new—an old piece becomes a new piece with any new reading. I always have multiple things in the hopper and work on each as the spirit moves. A sticky poem where the scansion and tropes don’t work, an old play finding a new twist, a new “if, then” experience, a new problem to be worked out, all can be variations for new themes.
False Bottom, a work on which I am currently engaged, deals with lives in the deep scattering layer of the oceans where many midwater animals rise and fall thousands of meters in a daily cycle tied to the sun cycle. I am examining, poetically, how the lives of these folks interact with each other while making their strange ascents and descents.
So an old man’s world is ever full. Each day he works and learns and imagines, and once in a great great while, when the baseball gods agree with all the others, he may send something off for others to see.
The Nudibranch Elegies and Anthropocene’s End made it to Regal House Publishing after trying many places, and may see the light of day come November—if the gods behave; each day is wait and see.
What do you read that people wouldn’t expect you to read?
Everything. Math, science, old authors, new authors, history, engineering, especially books and papers from other countries, languages and times. Books filled with ideas such as Calvino’s Invisible Cities. Kawabata’s novels, Robert Musil’s Man Without Qualities, and for me especially Ford Maddox Ford’s Parade’s End and the Good Soldier, all help me cope with today’s world.
What’s your process for writing: do you outline, create flow charts, fill out index cards, or just start and see where you end up? Do you use the same process every time?
Ideas come and go. Some stay and grow, and a few become iconic. Ones that remain do so for a reason. Find the reason. In mulling, new ideas come and attach themselves to others over time.
This part of the process can never be forced. What comes is what comes of its own will, often after periods of rest. The newly becoming idea swirls around and grows strange over and over, but parts lose themselves and others stay. Those that stay become catalysts for new pieces.
A character of mine, Moabit Bird, says it thus: “As long as I stay ignorant and don’t judge, I can learn new things when looking out into the world. I don’t know where I’m going, what I’m going to see or meet, so I must open myself. Then I may learn what reality is.”
Be a part of our ongoing “That’s My Story” initiative. Do you have questions you would like featured? Want to share your own literary story? We would love to hear from you!