A Ten Question Interview With The Artist…Kevin Ridgeway

Why do you write?

I write in order to survive the nonsense of the world, to discover whatever meaning or hidden truth resides in the result of my attempts at manipulating the English language.  To leave evidence of my humble existence behind, and sell a chapbook or two along the way to feed myself.

What books do you read?

I’ve read a lot of novels in my day, and a lot of creative nonfiction, but in the past year, I’ve read nothing but small press poetry collections and poetry magazines of all shapes and sizes.  I’m obsessed with contemporary poetry right now, especially narrative free verse poetry.

What inspires you?

The little overheard moments that I witness in my day to day life traveling the streets, and whatever pops into my manic depressive skull that’s not too crazy to share.  Old movies, the blues, rock n roll music, art museums, a good sense of humor, theatre, beautiful women.  And people who persevere with style, substance, wit, humility and a modicum of class.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer and when?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.  I had very few friends and have always been at the drawing board.  When I was seventeen, I flunked a drama school audition in San Francisco and walked out into the rainy streets with an ephiphany:  I’m a writer, now I have all the time in the world to write.  I’ve been working with that peculiar notion ever since.

How Do you deal with rejection?

I get rejections all of the time.  I try to be constructive about my work and take every rejection as a learning experience in order to grow.  I get over it, and quickly.

Who are some writers you admire?

Far, far too many to mention, but here are some:  Fred Voss, Gerald Locklin, Tony Gloeggler, Donna Hilbert, G. Murray Thomas, Ron Androla, Larry Duncan, Dave Church, Clint Margrave, Bunkong Tuon, Clifton Snider, Tamara Madison, Daniel McGinn, Alan Catlin, Ted Jonathan, Catfish McDaris, John Dorsey, Harry Calhoun, Travis Blair, Paul Kareem Tayyar, Thomas R. Thomas, Kevin Lee, John Grochalski, Dave Roskos, Bud Smith, Rebecca Schumejda, Matt Galletta and Sarah Thursday, to name a precious few.  Growing up, I idolized Carson McCullers, George S. Kaufman and Kurt Vonnegut.  Still do.

Is writing the only artistic medium you do?

I’ve been known to play-act and have dabbled for years in visual mediums.

What would be some advice you would give to your younger self?

Nothing.  I’d listen to him and what he would have to say, because not too many people did.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up.  You are going to fail, but you are also going to succeed.  Write every day, read every day and goddamn it, be kind to yourself so that you can spread the love.

What is your writing process?

I write in the morning, when I first wake up.  I write regardless of inspiration, and I put whatever I wrote aside for revision later.  I carry a notebook around with me to jot down ideas and things that strike me during the day, and before I go to bed, I work on those passing bits and look at what I wrote that morning with a renewed perspective.  In between all of that, I have the absolute nerve to send these crafted monstrosities to literary magazines, and on occasion those poor suckers want to publish them.  Rinse and repeat.

Kevin Ridgeway was born in Bellflower, CA and raised in nearby Whittier, where he currently lives and writes.  Nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Re)verb, San Pedro River Review, Right Hand Pointing, Bank-Heavy, Misfit Magazine and The Mas Tequila Review, among others.  His latest chapbooks of poetry are On the Burning Shore (Arroyo Seco Press) and Riding Off Into That Strange Technicolor Sunset:  Dallas-FT. Worth Poems (The Weekly Weird Monthly).

Kevin Ridgeway was born in Bellflower, CA and raised in nearby Whittier, where he currently lives and writes. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Re)verb, San Pedro River Review, Right Hand Pointing, Bank-Heavy, Misfit Magazine and The Mas Tequila Review, among others. His latest chapbooks of poetry are On the Burning Shore (Arroyo Seco Press) and Riding Off Into That Strange Technicolor Sunset: Dallas-FT. Worth Poems (The Weekly Weird Monthly).

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