TWD Magazine 4th Collection Interview: Fabrice Poussin — Photography Contributor

The Wire's Dream Magazine Logo
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.

About The Creative Process

What does creativity mean to you? And what does it mean to be creative?
Creativity is not so much a talent as it is a privilege. There is no doubt that we are all creative, yet few have the luxury to explore this aspect of who we are, usually because of life commitments. It is also a responsibility for it provides the viewer/reader/listener with a view of the world they cannot otherwise access; it allows him to discover what life keeps away from him. If we can, if we have the chance to be creative then we must. Creativity is simply using our senses to delve much deeper into what we call reality, and gift it to the world to enjoy, share, even question.

How do you make time for your creativity? Are you an early bird creative or a night owl? Or something in between?
Creativity may be a lifestyle. What one must do is let himself react to all things around, and jot down any thoughts at any given moment so the fleeing instant can later be revived in the artist choice of expressive medium. Life is a creative experience, so I cannot make time to be creative, rather take time to express that creativity. One must be willing to stop everything and create any time any where. Early in the morning or ate at night are perhaps best times for poetry; early morning and evening are best for the light of the universe in visual arts.

How much of your personal life and experiences shape who you are as a creative and as a person? Do you find that you draw much content from your experiences or have you worked to keep that separate from what you create?
In poetry, I would have to say that everything comes from experience, past, present, and from the very ephemeral. In photography, it is simply a desire to seek the phenomenal, large or small and bring it back home. I am interested in the details and the connection we all have with such. The purpose of the photograph is to help the viewer with that relationship. We all have a certain attraction to our world, but most of us do not have the luxury of the time it takes to connect. I suppose I could say that it is this experience I want to create, to show others how they too can connect to the unusual, the very small, the decayed, the passing moment.

About Creative Moments & Inspiration

What is your most memorable creative moment, if any?
I would have to say that it is the moment creative in the great American West, when alone, I stand in the middle of the desert. It is awesome to feel that I am in fact in control at the moment, and also that anything can happen. Isolated from the comforts of home, nature could engulf me in a second, yet it lets me enjoy its power, and trap it onto film. That is memorable.

Do you cross genres for inspiration? Which ones?
Ex: If you're a fiction writer, do you read and practice poetry? Do you also dabble in art?

When asked who the most influential photographers are in my life, I honestly cannot answer. The fact is few are, aside perhaps from Ansel Adams. I am much more influenced by literature and the other visual arts. Music also has an impact. The truth is perhaps that life is my biggest inspiration as it is depicted, and has been mostly since the Romantics, realists, impressionists, cubists, surrealists, expressionists, etc. The job of the artist is to see the world through the eye of Modernity as Baudelaire suggested. Thus the camera is only the tool, the rest is not photography, it is expression.

What/who inspires you the most?
As stated above, Baudelaire, Hemingway, Poe, Dali, Duchamp, and al the visionaries who have given us a chance to explore what most cannot see for lack of time.

Are there any contemporary writers/artists that you admire and think should be on everyone’s radar?
(Who do you think has been undervalued?)

Not really.

Tips For Others, Personal Goals

What tips would you give to those who have never published anything before?
Whatever your art is, just produce constantly. Don’t let rejection be an issue. If you are only in this to get published you are in this for the worst of reasons. I produce, I submit because I want to share. Is my work good? I don’t actually know, and perhaps it is not what matters. The message is what counts. When a reader can relate, you’ve got it. Submit, submit, submit something that makes you feel like you have accomplished something. Beauty is not what counts; what matters is that it stops something important within you.

What goals and/or aspirations do have for your creativity? Where would you like to see your work?
I think I may be looking for answers to big questions. I am most likely to never get those. But that is fine. As has been said, it is the journey that counts, not so much my destination. I have in a way already arrived. I contemplate, I interpret, I depict and I share. I like where my work is now in poetry and photography. All I can hope to do, is to see it become more refined, more exploratory, more revealing, most effective, in a word more universal as I progress.

— TWD MAGAZINE 4th COLLECTION—

Fabrice Poussin

Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and dozens of other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review and more than 350 other publications.

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TWD Magazine 4th Collection Interview: Amanda Tumminaro — Poetry Contributor

The Wire's Dream Magazine Logo
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.

About The Creative Process

What does creativity mean to you? And what does it mean to be creative?
To me, it just means using your own mind and putting down on paper what you want. That sounds very simple, but in creativity there’s no wrong way to do it – and I think that’s why I do it.

How do you make time for your creativity? Are you an early bird creative or a night owl? Or something in between?
I’m at my most productive time in the evening and at night. I can rarely write anything in the morning!

How much of your personal life and experiences shape who you are as a creative and as a person? Do you find that you draw much content from your experiences or have you worked to keep that separate from what you create?
A lot of my personal life goes in to what I write about, that way I can kind of get it off my shoulders and be free. It’s a type of therapy for me and they do always say “write about what you know”.

About Creative Moments & Inspiration

What is your most memorable creative moment, if any?
I don’t think I have one. I’ve written some fine poems and then I’ve written some garbage. It depends.

Do you cross genres for inspiration? Which ones?
Ex: If you're a fiction writer, do you read and practice poetry? Do you also dabble in art?

Yes. I write fiction and poetry, but I also love to look at art and read fiction. Occasionally I’ll read poetry.

What/who inspires you the most?
I really like Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Betty Smith and Van Gogh.

Are there any contemporary writers/artists that you admire and think should be on everyone’s radar?
(Who do you think has been undervalued?)

I really can’t think of anyone.

Tips For Others, Personal Goals

What tips would you give to those who have never published anything before?
Patience. This is coming from a woman who has no patience at all, but be patient with yourself – rejections are a part of it; you’ll get there.

What goals and/or aspirations do have for your creativity? Where would you like to see your work?
Ultimately I’d like to see my poetry published in several chapbooks and/or full-length books.

— TWD MAGAZINE 4th COLLECTION—

About Amanda

Amanda Tumminaro lives in the U.S. She is a poet and short story writer and her work has been featured in The Write Launch, The Radvocate, and Cottonwood, among others. Her first poetry chapbook, “The Flying Onion”, was released through The Paragon Journal in April of 2018.

TWD Magazine 4th Collection Interview: James Croal Jackson — Poetry Contributor

The Wire's Dream Magazine Logo
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.

About The Creative Process

What does creativity mean to you? And what does it mean to be creative?
Creativity has always been a huge part of my life. When I learned how to write, I made picture books and short stories. Wrote a kids’ novel in elementary school. Started composing music in high school, made films in college, and now I do all those things as my muse sees fit, in addition to poetry, which is my main output these days.

How do you make time for your creativity? Are you an early bird creative or a night owl? Or something in between?
Creativity comes first. Other obligations come second. This has caused problems in the past, but I’ve made it this far.

How much of your personal life and experiences shape who you are as a creative and as a person? Do you find that you draw much content from your experiences or have you worked to keep that separate from what you create?
Personal experiences shape everything. I’m inspired by all kinds of books, too, but reading is also shaped by personal experience.

About Creative Moments & Inspiration

What is your most memorable creative moment, if any?
I don’t know if there’s a single definitive moment, but probably my first published book, my first live performance as an electronic musician, and any time I get to present a short film I’ve shot that I’m proud of.

Do you cross genres for inspiration? Which ones?
Ex: If you're a fiction writer, do you read and practice poetry? Do you also dabble in art?

I mostly write poetry these days, but I still also write fiction, screenplays, music, and shoot films.

What/who inspires you the most?
Li Young Lee, Darren Aronofsky, Ron Rash, Mesita, Monica McClure, Kaveh Akbar, Paul Thomas Anderson, and so, so many other artists and writers.

Are there any contemporary writers/artists that you admire and think should be on everyone’s radar?
(Who do you think has been undervalued?)

I’m thinking of people I’ve published in my own poetry journal, The Mantle, whose writing blew me away– Nina Sudhakar, Bryanna Licciardi, Gray Clark, Nicholas Bon, Ace Boggess, Tallon Kennedy, Anisa Gandevivala, Kenneth Pobo, Geoff Anderson, AJ Wolff, Layne Ransom.

Tips For Others, Personal Goals

What tips would you give to those who have never published anything before?
Revise your work, and don’t be afraid to submit! Don’t take rejection personally!

What goals and/or aspirations do have for your creativity? Where would you like to see your work?
My goal has always been to become self-sustaining through art. I’ll keep working on it.

— TWD MAGAZINE 4th COLLECTION—

About James

James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in Hobart, FLAPPERHOUSE, Yes Poetry, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle, a poetry journal. Find him in Columbus, Ohio or at jimjakk.com.

TWD Magazine 4th Collection Interview: Kassie Shanafelt — Fiction Contributor

The Wire's Dream Magazine Logo
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.

About The Creative Process

What does creativity mean to you? And what does it mean to be creative?
Compulsion. It’s just something you have to do.

How do you make time for your creativity? Are you an early bird creative or a night owl? Or something in between?

I’m an early bird. There’s something about the quiet in the morning that helps me get things done.

How much of your personal life and experiences shape who you are as a creative and as a person? Do you find that you draw much content from your experiences or have you worked to keep that separate from what you create?

I draw a lot from experience.

About Creative Moments & Inspiration

What is your most memorable creative moment, if any?

N/A

Do you cross genres for inspiration? Which ones?
Ex: If you're a fiction writer, do you read and practice poetry? Do you also dabble in art?

I read basically anything; however, I’ve found myself having to step back from reading while I’m working on a specific project. Other voices start clogging up my head. I’ll have a few productive weeks reading then a few productive weeks writing. It’s usually one or the other.

What/who inspires you the most?

My great-grandmother.

Are there any contemporary writers/artists that you admire and think should be on everyone’s radar?
(Who do you think has been undervalued?)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Francesca Lia Block

Tips For Others, Personal Goals

What tips would you give to those who have never published anything before?

Write, rewrite, and continue submitting.

What goals and/or aspirations do have for your creativity? Where would you like to see your work?

I really want to finish one of my larger works.

— TWD MAGAZINE 4th COLLECTION—

About Kassie

Kassie Shanafelt lives in Brooklyn. Her work is forthcoming in Cauldron Anthology, The Airgonaut, and Lemon Star Magazine and can be found in Philosophical Idiot, Coffin Bell Journal, Cold Creek Review, and Enclave. She is the founding creative director of Millennial Pink, an online community for fellow creatives. Find out more at the website.

TWD Magazine 4th Collection Interview: Tanya Holtland — Photography Contributor

The Wire's Dream Magazine Logo
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.

About The Creative Process

What does creativity mean to you? And what does it mean to be creative?
I think creativity can be a lot of things. For me it has often meant healing and at times survival. A way out of something and towards something else. A way to seek, to understand and translate an environment that can press on the most sensitive parts of us. Creativity can be innate but I think art, having time and the resources to engage on a path of creativity, is a luxury. I feel pretty grateful to have had opportunities for this exploration.

How do you make time for your creativity? Are you an early bird creative or a night owl? Or something in between?
I am definitely an early riser. Morning is my favorite kind of quiet. I love the middle of the night but my body and most of my work life resent being awake for it for too long.

How much of your personal life and experiences shape who you are as a creative and as a person? Do you find that you draw much content from your experiences or have you worked to keep that separate from what you create?
I don’t recall being outwardly creative as a child, but I suspect my creative energy was being subsumed by other basic needs. I think creativity, not just expression but a creativity that heals, emerges in and from darkness. When I was in my early twenties and ready to heal, poetry arrived. I have spent more than a decade now seeing my experiences through writing, seeing them transform through writing. I think it is possible for art to not only change the future but also the past. The richness of creative healing can suspend linearity. Probably for this I keep the personal and the creative very close to each other.

About Creative Moments & Inspiration

What is your most memorable creative moment, if any?
There have been times where I have written things that felt beautiful and expansive and they seemed to come out with little coaxing and little editing and that was a blissful feeling. Is that creative? Did I do that or did I just make space for that? Every time I write something intentionally without the critic is a future memorable moment I’m calling in right now.

Do you cross genres for inspiration? Which ones?
Ex: If you're a fiction writer, do you read and practice poetry? Do you also dabble in art?

Formally I am a prose poet, but I do some of my best writing after a day at a museum. I think it is possible to translate poems into images and vice versa, and I think much of my creative work has been about trying to establish that there is a whole language inherent in that translation. Photography has been with me longer than poetry and was for many years a secret journal I kept to myself. I also love to play piano although, without formal training, it has been a limited endeavor. But when I sit down to play piano or stand in front of a Cy Twombly, the parts of me that become activated are not dissimilar from the way I experience poetry.

What/who inspires you the most?
Travel. The idea that the world truly is getting smaller and we are, as bodies, as love, able to expand in so many places. My partner, Hailey.

Are there any contemporary writers/artists that you admire and think should be on everyone’s radar?
(Who do you think has been undervalued?)

I was recently introduced to the work of Aisha Sabatini Sloan and her essays are brilliant and so important. Comedy also an art that heals, anyone reading this in the greater LA area should go hear the comedian Danielle Perez. Both of these LA natives are making my hometown shine.

Tips For Others, Personal Goals

What tips would you give to those who have never published anything before?
Like anything else, if it is worthy of putting your time into it, keep going until it is birthed. There is no such thing as too late. Remember a future you wish for and work backwards from there.

What goals and/or aspirations do have for your creativity? Where would you like to see your work?
At a certain point I think creativity’s natural progression is a movement in scale, a movement from the sphere of the personal to universal. All the more if it has the capacity to heal. I expect creativity will come to mean very new and different things in addition to what it has been in the past. Mostly I’d like to be a better listener. Creative and otherwise.

— TWD MAGAZINE 4th COLLECTION—

About Tanya

Tanya Holtland is author of the chapbook Inner River (Drop Leaf Press, 2016). A finalist for the editors’ prize in poetry at MARY: A Journal of New Writing, her poetry and nonfiction also appear in The Collagist, Statement Magazine, OXALIS, and elsewhere. She holds creative writing degrees from San Francisco State University. Recently artist-in-residence at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, her libretto FATED, a collaboration with composer Daniela Candillari, premiered there in winter of 2017. This is her first photography publication.

TWD Magazine 4th Collection Interview: Nolcha Fox — Fiction Contributor

The Wire's Dream Magazine Logo
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.

About The Creative Process

What does creativity mean to you? And what does it mean to be creative?
Creativity is walking into a new universe blind-folded, where none of the old laws (including the law of gravity) apply, and I don’t know the new rules, so I have to make them up as I go. I don’t know where I’m going, or where I’ll end up, or even why. Now you know why I write fantasy, dark humor, and horror.

How do you make time for your creativity? Are you an early bird creative or a night owl? Or something in between?

I’m very fortunate because I’m retired, so it’s very easy for me to make time for creativity. Creativity can strike any time, day or night. It isn’t unusual for me to write the first draft of my short stories in my brain while I’m in bed, pretending to sleep. I used to get up and write everything down when that happened, but it only made me cranky the next day. Now I know I’ll remember enough to crank out a rough second draft the next morning.

How much of your personal life and experiences shape who you are as a creative and as a person? Do you find that you draw much content from your experiences or have you worked to keep that separate from what you create?

Everything I’ve experienced worms its way into my writing at one point or another. I couldn’t keep it separate if I tried. For example, from the time I was a small child to the day I left home, just before I fell into a deep sleep, I would dream that I was falling from a great height onto a bed of shiny pebbles, washed by water. That became a short story I plan to submit, after I stop hyperventilating every time I read it.

About Creative Moments & Inspiration

What is your most memorable creative moment, if any?

My most memorable creative moment was the time I received a letter from an editor who liked my story about a mother who drove her children off a pier, but thought it would work better if I told the story from the point of view of a child. The kicker is that I originally wrote the story from the viewpoint of a child, but my writing group hated it – they thought it should be told from the point of view of the mother who did the evil deed. Of course I had the original version, which I promptly sent off to the editor. He loved it, and that was my first published story. I learned to trust my gut, to trust my own creative impulse, not to trust my writing group. That was a tough lesson. They’re my second family. I still have to relearn it now and then.

Do you cross genres for inspiration? Which ones?
Ex: If you're a fiction writer, do you read and practice poetry? Do you also dabble in art?

I don’t cross genres. I tried writing poetry. All my submissions were rejected. After I picked myself off the ground, I realized that my poetry whines too much, so I decided to stick with what I do best.

What/who inspires you the most?

I honestly couldn’t tell you where most of my story ideas come from, and I’m certain that some of my friends (who shudder every time I tell them it’s another horror story) would love to find the source of my inspiration and kill it.

Are there any contemporary writers/artists that you admire and think should be on everyone’s radar?
(Who do you think has been undervalued?)

I have a confession to make. I don’t read the work of other writers anymore because I don’t want to inadvertently steal any of their ideas. That’s not polite.

Tips For Others, Personal Goals

What tips would you give to those who have never published anything before?

First, pick a genre. There are a gazillion literary magazines out there, and the more targeted you can be, the easier it is to decide where to submit. And even then, see my second tip. Second, expect to be rejected. Most editors are incredibly polite and sympathetic. And you know what? Rejections suck anyway. Have rejections ever made me think about taking up a different hobby, like juggling chain saws? Absolutely! But at some point, I try again. And again. And again.

What goals and/or aspirations do have for your creativity? Where would you like to see your work?

I want to get my stories published in a book. Or three. (One day I’ll have to tell you about my story sock drawer.) Here’s my second confession. I’d rather get them all published at once instead of sending them out one or two at a time. I’m not a teenager anymore, after all.

— TWD MAGAZINE 4th COLLECTION—

About Nolcha

Nolcha Fox worked as a professional writer in the software and finance industries for over two decades. Retirement couldn’t stop the itch in her fingers to write, so Fox started blogging about life in a Wyoming small town (http://nolchafox.wixsite.com/buffalo-wyoming-blog). Blogging wasn’t enough; Fox returned to her old love of short stories. Fox focuses on (dark) humor, horror, fantasy, and science fiction.

Her stories have been published in Deadlights, The Wire’s Dream Magazine, We Are A Website New Literary Journal, and Cadaverous Magazine.

Fox is an active member of Wyoming Writers, Inc., and the Writers Ink group in Buffalo, WY (we meet in the local haunted hotel).

TWD Magazine 4th Collection Interview: Brandon Black — Fiction Contributor

The Wire's Dream Magazine Logo
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.

About The Creative Process

What does creativity mean to you? And what does it mean to be creative?

N/A

How do you make time for your creativity? Are you an early bird creative or a night owl? Or something in between?

I’ve been waking up before 6 a.m. ever since high school. Suffice it to say, I am an early bird! Creativity definitely comes to me in the early hours though throughout my experience, it can strike at any moment.

How much of your personal life and experiences shape who you are as a creative and as a person? Do you find that you draw much content from your experiences or have you worked to keep that separate from what you create?

N/A

About Creative Moments & Inspiration

What is your most memorable creative moment, if any?

Particularly for my story, it parallels some of my experiences while growing up in Southern California. Seizing those memorable moments and then letting my creativity take over was key in making the story really come to life and inflict the appropriate tone and resonance with readers.

Do you cross genres for inspiration? Which ones?
Ex: If you're a fiction writer, do you read and practice poetry? Do you also dabble in art?

N/A

What/who inspires you the most?

I draw inspiration from a wide variety of sources including my family and social circle, real-life experiences, day-dreams and more. Once I have an idea I feel I can write the hell out of, I then seek the most applicable source of motivation to continue my writing and creative process.

Are there any contemporary writers/artists that you admire and think should be on everyone’s radar?
(Who do you think has been undervalued?)

N/A

Tips For Others, Personal Goals

What tips would you give to those who have never published anything before?

Persistency is a fine line. Be confident in following up with an editor while also making the case for why your story should be published in the first place. Answering the question, “why my story resonate will resonate with readers of your publication?” is also a key ingredient in successfully pitching an editor and in follow-up emails.

What goals and/or aspirations do have for your creativity? Where would you like to see your work?

N/A

— TWD MAGAZINE 4th COLLECTION—

About Brandon

Brandon Black is a 29-year-old aspiring writer, based in Los Angeles, California, who has chronic speech disfluency, stuttering. He grew up with a stutter and attended speech therapy in middle school and for a brief period after university.

TWD Magazine 4th Collection Interview: Matt Reid — Fiction Contributor

The Wire's Dream Magazine Logo
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.

About The Creative Process

What does creativity mean to you? And what does it mean to be creative?
Creativity to me means finding a special way to inspire others. Creativity can come from almost anywhere! I grew up hearing the expression, “There’s nothing new under the sun…”. My favorite rapper Nas said that in a song and it stuck with me. I interpreted these lyrics as one having to be creative because not much in life is new. So humans have to find innovative ways to appeal to one another by using whatever the world provides for them. For instance, a writer has to use the same 26 letters in the alphabet, the same letters that everyone else has access to in order to form words, sentences, and paragraphs that draw the attention of readers. It’s a very challenging process! I think of the writer Ernest Vincent Wright who wrote the lipogram, Gadsby. He must have been bored with writing and needed a new challenge. So he decided to write a book without using the letter “e’. Now that’s c-r-a-t-i-v!

How do you make time for your creativity? Are you an early bird creative or a night owl? Or something in between?

Time is something all of us adults seem to run out of with more responsibilities. We have to be creative in finding more grains of sand in our hour glass. A thousand ideas pop up in my mind at the most inconvenient moments. Particularly at my job! I work with students so they inspire me all day long by reminding me of what life was like at their ages. That’s why a lot of my writing is about me when I was a kid or a teenager just like the students I’m around. My daughter Sage also motivates me to think that way too. She’s becoming more curious about history and writing so I find time to creatively connect with her. Sometimes I think of concepts of stories while I’m talking to students or my daughter. The youth inspires me! So with little time to write, I jot a whole lot down as fast as I can so I don’t forget it. When I can, I also make time to watch documentaries that inspire me to be creative. Netflix has a piece titled Abstract with an episode of Tinker Hatfield (the guy who designed Air Jordan’s and many other sneakers for Nike). He was somehow injured and had to sit up in a hospital for weeks yet he asked for a sketch pad and designed sneakers in the 1980’s that many repeatedly buy over-and-over again as retros! Watching his creative process was mind-blowing! Another episode featured Christoph Niemann who’s a visual storyteller and draws cartoons for The New Yorker. He had an office space where he would go to sit for hours without coming up with any ideas, however, it was the time he put in to eventually get to his creative stage that mattered to me. These guys made me realize that my work ethic was poor. When I described these stories to my wife Lauren, she went and bought me a sketching desk. Now I have a creative space in my basement where my drawing desk, laptop, markers, colored pencils, sketch paper, and beats by dr. dre constantly call my name to come create.

I’m definitely in between being an “early bird” and a “night owl”! I get up early almost everyday and if I’m not writing or illustrating, I’m thinking about it. Or if I don’t find time to create throughout the day, I wait until everyone in my home is asleep and sneak down to the basement to write or illustrate pictures for my children’s book. In fact, I have a character who’s an owl that helps his friend find himself. It’s sort of symbolic to me finding my voice as a writer.

How much of your personal life and experiences shape who you are as a creative and as a person? Do you find that you draw much content from your experiences or have you worked to keep that separate from what you create?

Most of it! I’m writing a memoir about my coming of age. It consists of defining moments that helped mold me into the man I am and continue to become. The theme of my memoir, “It takes a village…” pays homage to the community I was born and raised in, William Penn Village, the former name of a government housing project in Pottstown, PA. As kids, my friends and I had to be pretty creative because we were underprivileged. We used to slam metal shopping carts on the hard concrete until the top basket part fell off. Then we’d flip the basket part over to reattach it to the bottom section that has the wheels with string or wire in order to make a go-cart that coasted down the street. Only poor kids are that creative!

My experiences are everything to me! I take where I’m from everywhere I go even if I’m on the other side of the world. My mantra is a Bob Marley quote, “My home is in my head.” I had an opportunity to travel through South East Asia where my friends and I played soccer with kids in Vietnam, bought ice cream for kids in Cambodia, and rode elephants in Thailand with a kid and his father. The kid and his father provided an elephant as their business for tourists to ride. I’ll never forget the kid telling us that he couldn’t afford to go to school. Instead, he helped his father earn a living to entertain us and many others. These experiences humble me yet are worth sharing.

About Creative Moments & Inspiration

What is your most memorable creative moment, if any?

My most memorable creative moment is coming up with the concept and characters for the picture book I’m working on. Writing a story is one thing, illustrating the pictures for certain text is another. It’s very time consuming when one does both on their own but it has a sense of fulfillment.

Do you cross genres for inspiration? Which ones?
Ex: If you're a fiction writer, do you read and practice poetry? Do you also dabble in art?

Most definitely! My favorite genre is non-fiction. As a history major in undergrad and an aspiring social studies teacher, I love reading about events that took place in the past. It helps me better understand what’s presently going on and how to prepare for what’s coming. I believe it’s important to re-write history that’s either misrepresented or not represented at all. For instance, there are many untold African American and African stories that authors must creatively write about! Sometimes I cross over to the genre of fiction because it’s a gateway to touch on more serious topics in history. Graphic novels are great instruments to get kids and even adults to see pieces of history in ways they’ve never seen it in reading a boring text book. Also, I love hip-hop music and there isn’t much difference between verses in songs and stanzas found in poems. As I previously mentioned, I also do my own illustrations.

What/who inspires you the most?

My wife Lauren inspires me the most! She’s the one who put the battery in my back to pursue writing by gifting me with books and other things to get me started. Before that it was mostly talk about writing children’s books or memoirs. As someone who earned her PhD before the age of thirty, my wife is an overachiever who has little time for all talk and no action. Also, I get inspired every time I read an excerpt, article or book based on someone’s life story. It motivates me to keep writing so I can convert from being a writer to being an author.

Are there any contemporary writers/artists that you admire and think should be on everyone’s radar?
(Who do you think has been undervalued?)

James McBride’s The Color of Water:A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother, changed my life and is the epiphany I gained toward writing about my own experience. Paulo Coelho who wrote The Alchemist which is the perfect book to encourage one to follow their heart. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between The World And Me, is something that every black father should read. Alexander Michelle’s The New Jim Crow is highly informative! Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope described a man I admired way before he’d run for president. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, describes the plight of Africans and Tim Wise’s White Like Me, reminds me that one always has the ability to step outside of their privilege or race to express empathy for oppressed people.

I think many of the above have been undervalued because for some reason, race and injustice is still an uncomfortable topic for many to discuss.

Tips For Others, Personal Goals

What tips would you give to those who have never published anything before?

KEEP WRITING! Rejection is part of the process. Being stuck in the slush-pile is frustrating but it happened to the best authors out. I never delete the emails of the publishers that denied my work. Instead, I keep my list of them as a reminder that not being “the right fit” does not always mean my writing sucks. There’s always room for improvement. Also, to be a writer, you must be a reader. It’s wise to go into Barnes and Noble to see what authors stay on the shelves and who’s currently out. Read about someone who has a similar story as yours. Even if it’s only the inside flap.

What goals and/or aspirations do have for your creativity? Where would you like to see your work?

My goal is to have my memoir available in all outlets! Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, local book stores, and more. Being a bestseller is every writers dream! Having a picture book that I’ve made from scratch published and accessible for every child all over the world would be wonderful! Someday, I want to be minding my own business in a coffee shop until I notice a college student reading my memoir. Or seeing a mother reading my children’s book to her five year old son at an airport would all be worth it!

— TWD MAGAZINE 4th COLLECTION—

About Matt

Matt Reid is a Child Specific Aide who works with amazing students to help them overcome obstacles within the Wissahickon School District located in Ambler, Pennsylvania.

Matt believes that confidence is everything when it comes to helping students discover their talents.

Matt has gone viral exceeding a million views on House of Highlights after scoring the game winning shot in a faculty versus students basketball game.

Matt holds a B.A. in History from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.

TWD Magazine 4th Collection Interview: Phil Gallos — Fiction Contributor

The Wire's Dream Magazine Logo
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.

About The Creative Process

How do you make time for your creativity? Are you an early bird creative or a night owl? Or something in between?

My creativity management is minimal. I may be standing, writing at the kitchen counter while eating breakfast. I may be writing in bed before going to sleep. I may wake up in the middle of the night and jot some notes on the nearest piece of paper. I do try to set aside a few hours in the afternoon twice a week in a favorite café with a strong cup of tea and my writing materials (pen and notebook – I almost never compose on my laptop, and most revisions are done on print-outs). Working in an environment that has a fair amount of ambient activity actually helps me to focus. That does not mean that I don’t sometimes work in a quiet room at home or by the shore of a lake or on a mountaintop. I try to make room for the muse whenever she arrives, and then listen.

How much of your personal life and experiences shape who you are as a creative and as a person? Do you find that you draw much content from your experiences or have you worked to keep that separate from what you create?

All of it. Everything shapes who I am as a creative person. The creative process is a process of transformation. Personal transformation. So now I have to be a bit dogmatic. We are what we create. We are constantly re-creating ourselves. Whatever we call our art is but one manifestation of that process. You can’t say, “Oh, that is my imagination, and this is my experience.” Your imagination is your experience, as much as your breathing. Stop breathing, your body dies. Stop imagining, your soul dies. Any separation between content and experience is an illusion.

About Creative Moments & Inspiration

What is your most memorable creative moment, if any?

There have been so many memorable creative moments. The most recent was in June, 2016. I awoke from a dream and knew I had the crux of a story. I spent the entire day writing; and, when I wasn’t actually writing, I was thinking about what I was going to write. Everything else was pushed out of the way. I remember sitting at the counter of the Blue Moon Café eating lunch, a fork in one hand, my pen in the other, scrawling line after line in my notebook so fast that the words were barely legible, not even thinking anymore, the sentences moving directly from my hand to the paper, seemingly bypassing my brain. The first draft was completed before I went to bed sometime after midnight. Many revisions later, “Saffron Gold and Fire Engine Red” was accepted and will be published this summer in The MacGuffin.

Do you cross genres for inspiration? Which ones?
Ex: If you're a fiction writer, do you read and practice poetry? Do you also dabble in art?

Absolutely, but not in a premeditated way. I have been working in fine art photography for over forty years. A number of my short stories, one novella, and two novels (not all of these have been published), have had their genesis from or been informed by one or more of my photographs.

What/who inspires you the most?

On one level, the people I have known, the places I have been, an object like a singular black stone picked from a cobbly Maine beach – these inspire me to write, they populate my stories. But on a more foundational level, I am inspired by my wife, Sharon O’Brien, and my friend, the late Maurice Kenny, because they believe in my creative potential, because they want me to succeed – Sharon from the here and now, Maurice from the hereafter. Finally, I am inspired by good writing.

Are there any contemporary writers/artists that you admire and think should be on everyone’s radar?
(Who do you think has been undervalued?)

Frankly, there are not many contemporary writers that I can say I “admire.” There are those whose work I enjoy and whose voices influence my own, from time to time. I did admire poet Maurice Kenny, who died in 2016, because I knew him personally, knew his history and what he tried to accomplish, knew his struggle in his last years and his determination to keep writing, which he did nearly to the end, leaving several books in the publishing pipeline to add to the 29 already out there, and I knew his generosity with his time helping younger writers even as his days slipped away. Some will have the pleasure of reading his work. I had the privilege of reading him.

Tips For Others, Personal Goals

What tips would you give to those who have never published anything before?

Don’t give up. Talk to other writers who have been published. Don’t become so attached to what you’ve written that you are unwilling to act on advice that even you know could improve your work. Revise, revise, revise. Keep all of your old drafts. Then you can look back and see that your story or poem really is better now than it was when you began. Rejections are part of the process. Each one is an opportunity to reevaluate and improve the work, to submit to another venue, or to submit something else to the same venue that may more closely align with their tone. At the same time, never write primarily to please the editors. Write to please your soul.

What goals and/or aspirations do have for your creativity? Where would you like to see your work?

Goal: to continue to improve as a writer. Aspiration: to know that my writing is making a positive difference in someone’s life, even if it’s simply the satisfaction of reading a story well told. Where would I like to see my work? I can give you a list, or I can just say in the hands of those who appreciate it.

— TWD MAGAZINE 4th COLLECTION—

About Phil

Phil Gallos has been a newspaper reporter and columnist, a researcher/writer in the historic preservation field, and has spent 28 years working in academic libraries. Longer works include Cure Cottages of Saranac Lake: Architecture and History of a Pioneer Health Resort, Historic Saranac Lake, 1985, 186 p. Anthologized shorter work can be found in Rooted in Rock: New Adirondack Writing, 1975-2000, Adirondack Museum/Syracuse University Press, 2001; and in Adirondack Reflections: On Life and Living in the Mountains and the Valleys, The History Press, 2013. Most recently, his writing has been published in Thrice Fiction, The Vignette Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Sky Island Journal and is forthcoming in The MacGuffin and Blueline. A native of Manhattan, he lives in Saranac Lake, NY, in the Adirondack Mountains.

TWD Magazine 3rd Collection Interview: Stallion Dunquis, TWD Magazine 3rd Collection Contributor — Poetry Contributor

The Wire's Dream Magazine Logo
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.

About Creativity

Let’s start by talking about creativity — what does creativity mean to you?

Escapism, pure fun.

How and when did you get started doing what you love to do? Who or what is your creative muse?

My muse is Estefanía. I’ve been writing since I was 7.

What is your most memorable creative experience, if any?

I acted in The Merchant of Venice as part of a Shakespeare course at university.
The two teachers were brilliant! They allowed me to write and perform music for
the production, as well.

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?

Lighting candles. Boiling cinnamon sticks and vanilla extract on the stove.
Listening to classical music.

Time, Tips, & Future Goals

How do you make time to do what you love to do?

The night is always young.

What tips can you give novice creatives about getting started on their creative journey and about submitting their work for publication?

Harbor no expectations for your submissions. If someone likes your work, engage
that person with the utmost gratitude. Get away from writing—go to the movies,
go dancing.

What do you hope to achieve with your creativity? Where would you like to see yourself in about 5 years, professionally and creatively?

In 2023 I see myself living in Paris and owning a bulldog named Claude.

— TWD Magazine 3rd Collection—

About Stallion

Stallion Dunquis, TWD Magazine 3rd Collection Contributor

Stallion Dunquis is a poet and singer based in New York City. Sonnets from Dunquis have recently appeared in Porridge Magazine and Rag Queen Periodical.
Facebook / Instagram & Twitter: @stalliondunquis

Read Stallion’s Poetry In TWD Magazine 3rd Collection

“Air” — p. 29
“Piel en Piel” — p. 55
“Nausea” — p. 57
“Advice From Ernie” — p. 86
“Merlot” — p. 89