OP: What’s your writing process like? What about your revision process?
SP: My writing process depends mostly upon the upon the genre, but is also subject to place, the day, or the occasion. Usually, for poetry or fiction, the idea will just come to me, and I will go to a café, or sit on a park bench, or pull the car over to the side of the road—then pull out my ever-present notebook, and scribble down a first draft. I have written on café napkins, matchbook covers, candy wrappers, or whatever is within reach at the time—like the palm of my hand or my forearm. If I am at home, I go directly to my office and sit at my desk and begin a first draft, either in my journal, notebook, or on the computer. For non-fiction, I do much more prewriting. I usually brainstorm, draft a thesis statement, sketch an outline, then start fleshing out the piece. I try to be at my writing desk (or specified writing place at the time) at the same time every day so I don’t have to search for the muse—the muse channels to me (but anyone with a family and/or paying job knows that cannot always be done). Sometimes I just free-write until something comes to me, then go through the processes mentioned above. Lately I have even written (or typed in) an idea or rough draft on my cell phone.
My revision process, for all genres, is basically the same. I read over the first draft, pen notes in red ink (red, so it is easier to see), the go to my computer and type in the second draft or the corrections. Then I print the document, read it, pen in the corrections, type in the corrections on my computer, print it up, read it, pen in the corrections, print it up . . . that may go on for as many as 50 times, but at least five or six times—depending on time constraints, deadlines, or how comfortable I feel with the result.
OP: What made you decide to pursue writing? Can it be whittled down to a moment?
SP: Yes. During my first semester at university, while I was reading “Intro to English Literature” for a comp class, I started arbitrarily writing original poems and short stories in the columns of the book, and in the blank pages at the back of the book. I looked over my poems and short stories and decided that writing was fun and that it was something I might want to keep on doing.
OP: What do you want most out of your literary community?
SP: Oh, just to share. I hope my writing reaches writers and readers who get something out of what I write, whether it is empathy or metaphysical, and that helps drive conversation.
OP: Can other genres achieve what poetry can achieve?
SP: Poetry is powerful. Its assonance, alliteration, internal or end rhyme, and rhythm of the words makes it easier (or not easier, depending on who you speak with) to memorize and follow. Songs use the same methods of pleasing the ears and entering our hippocampusi. But, all genres have their pluses and minuses. Theatre can be just as illuminating as poetry, as can fiction, non-fiction, opera, etc. So, all genres have the power to impact.
Rest of interview here:
Book #aranchborderingthesaltyriver by @smpagemoria Published by @flpbooks