Award winning short story writer, Ben Black invited me to participate in a blog hop–a series of writers answering questions about their writing. Below are my answers, plus links to the writers who will be answering the same questions next week–selected by me, great at what they do.
1) What am I working on/writing?
I should be working on my dissertation, The Storyteller Ghost which is a novel in verse that plays with myth, folklore and elegy. I am working on a manuscript on video game poetry, No One Wants to be Player 2 not sure if it’s a chapbook or a full collection. Also working on another collection of slam/activist based worked. Dunno if I want to call it PhDropout (since it deals with my experiences as an educator and a graduate student) or The Cult of the Brown Virgin (again, myth, belief and sexuality). I mostly work in poetry but have done several lyric essays which I don’t know if I want to keep as a collection. I just try to write as a means of not wasting time.
2) How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
In terms of poetry, well–that’s difficult. Poetry as a whole is a broad genre with multiple forms. I would say subject matter, but there are several books that cover what I cover. I guess it would be approach. I believe in storytelling and storytellers. That’s why my work tends to stray away from the experimental and away from the lyric and more towards the narrative. I’m not quite a cross genre writer, but it’s getting there. I tried to just tell the story, but now I try to incorporate some of the theory that I’ve learned in my PhD program. Let’s see how that works out.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write because:
“People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality too. It goes from one generation to another.”
I worry about legacy and representation. I write in different forms. I write because I want to share stories because stories matter. I had someone tell me that the humanities don’t matter, all that matter are facts–that was depressing because to say that means that all culture doesn’t matter. It’s fact that the Jewish people faced the Holocaust, but without stories and culture, we wouldn’t know who they are as a people and what it means. Without stories each extinction, each genocide, each murder, each assault doesn’t matter. We become nothing more than bytes of data, so why bother living?
4) How does my writing process work?
I am known for being chronically slow with my work. I don’t see myself as a prolific writer, but I am working on something all the time. I’m trying to see what can happen when I restrain myself. Lock myself away for an hour or two at a time, no internet, etc. etc. I try to write on a theme and work from there.
I usually use a line that inspires me and go from there. I once had a 3 page long prose poem/lyric essay and it became a 6 line long poem. I find that I have more fun in the revision process than the writing process. I hate revising my academic papers because honestly? I feel like I have nothing to say about most things academic, but I have more to say about more things artistic. I was underwhelmed with my reading list for my preliminary examination because everything that can be written on Whitman, Frost, et all I feel has been written.
Let’s see how this new take on writing will work.
Now for the participants:
Jack Burgos is a 30-year-old case manager and counselor born in Miami, Florida, and living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy from Tulane University in New Orleans in 2007 and his Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from the University of Tulsa in 2013.
Jack has been writing since the fourth grade. His friends and he began A Murder of Storytellers in 2012, which has done a great deal to encourage him to take his writing seriously enough to start a website, Facebook page, and Twitter account, and to work towards the publication of some of his fiction. His first published stories will be in the Happy Days, Sweetheart anthology, to be released in June 2014.