As an extension of The Black Lion Journal’s mission, The Wire’s Dream is a semi-annual magazine that values community, life perspectives, and different worldviews. Contributors were asked to complete a set of mini interview questions with the purpose of sharing with the readers and their fellow submitters a bit about who they are and about their creativity. All questions were the same for each contributor; and each answer given is unique, open, friendly, and candid.
Let’s start by talking about creativity — what does creativity mean to you?
To me, it’s such a general word. I think of the process of creation itself, the idea that we are all creators of something. What can I put together and how can I refine it — so that what I have formed can affect someone or multiple people? How can I make my words effective, moving? How can I paint with words and sentences, just like an artist or sculptor might fashion something for the public or even for the self?
How and when did you get started doing what you love to do? Who or what is your creative muse?
I began to read whatever book I found when I was very young, even if I couldn’t read the actual words. That transferred over to writing. I wrote whenever I could, whatever I could. It would sometimes be when I should have been doing classwork in grade school. I wrote mysteries, science fiction stuff, outlandish narratives. Sometimes a mimicry of what I’d just read. My muses are endless: my wife always inspires me, nature can be invigorating, and my dreams are an endless stream for me to dip into and enjoy. Current political and global issues also move me to grab my pen.
What is your most memorable creative experience, if any?
Nothing jumps at me right now. I’ve had moments when I need to scramble for my notebook to get an idea or an experience written down. I’ve been a part of writing groups, which has been helpful in writing down a poem or a narrative piece — with just one word or one situation as the spark.
People approach creativity in such different ways! What about you? What is your creative routine? Do you know of any quirky habits or creative superstitions?
I try to write down something every day. I’m sort of successful at that — but not always. Placing a notebook by my bed helps me whenever I have a dream that sticks and is memorable to me. I need to have coffee or another stimulant (tea works, so does beer or wine!) … and I need to be ready, though sometimes being ready doesn’t happen and I just have to write. Just do it. I’ve written “writing time” in my calendar before, but that’s normally when I get super busy and I don’t give myself the necessary time to do it.
Time, Tips, & Future Goals
How do you make time to do what you love to do?
That’s just it. I make the time. I have to. I have to tell myself to take a break: so that means go to the gym or the trails and get running. That means head to a cafe for some coffee, try a new beer at one of the local breweries. That means designate a time to be with people I care about. That means go out to eat with my wife. And I can’t just think — “you know, I should be doing such and such” — I have to do them. To act.
What tips can you give novice creatives about getting started on their creative journey and about submitting their work for publication?
Read. Read a lot. Read a variety of work. Read work written by people that are different from you. Read work from underrepresented voices. It’s important to read, to listen, to experience as much as one can. It’s important to have willingness: to learn, to try, to get organized, to open that notebook (or computer), to write, to write anything and everything. The connections will come. The narrative arcs will appear. When submitting, one must be willing to take on that part-time job. Ask people what they do, take a deep breath, allow for rejection to overpower you, expect rejection, expect it often, and don’t be discouraged!
What do you hope to achieve with your creativity? Where would you like to see yourself in about 5 years, professionally and creatively?
I want to move people. I want to inspire people. I want to reach people from all walks of life and from different backgrounds. I want everyone to reconsider their present state — their reality, their beliefs, their biases, their future. I want people to gain perspective, gain empathy, learn to love and help those who are struggling. In five years, I still would love to be teaching writing and narrative to a diverse and excited group of students. In five years, I would love to compile and publish a much larger poetry collection. In five years, I would love to have a completed prose piece. There is a lot buzzing around in my head; hopefully a lot of what’s up there can land cohesively and form something worthwhile and inspiring for others.
— TWD Magazine 3rd Collection—
Kevin A. Risner is currently ESL Coordinator at the Cleveland Institute of Art. His work can be found multiple places online — including Rising Phoenix Review, Rise Up Review, the murmur house, and others. His first chapbook, My Ear is a Sieve, has recently been published by Bottlecap Press. He enjoys reading, running, and a nice scotch — but not all at the same time (though that would be quite an impressive feat).
You Can Find Kevin Here
Read Kevin’s Poetry In TWD Magazine 3rd Collection
“December” — p. 19
“Time” — p. 40