Why do you write?
To me writing is a necessity. It’s been said it might keep you from going crazy, but to me it’s an extension of myself. I need to write and I have a difficult time stopping especially with social media like Instagram where
you can write and share immediately. Read the madness @thomyoung
What books do you read?
I like theology, history, and conspiracy type things although the only conspiracy is believing the government. I am constantly reading new poets as well such as the talented Malachai Pulido from California and I’ve been fortunate to do some books with him. Reading is just as important to a writer as writing in my opinion because obviously they go together.
What inspires you?
My father just seeing his integrity and work ethic inspires me because I don’t know if I inherited those traits so yeah that would be the main influence. I’m inspired by music and envy those that can play the guitar. Who doesn’t want to be a guitarist in a rock band? Music is a big influence and I always have headphones on while writing and I like 90s grunge and alternative stuff but also the 60s and 70s music that whole psychedelic thing. I like people that play by their own rules.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer and when?
I never knew I wanted to be a writer but I always liked to write. I always write as necessity as I mentioned above but I first started really submitting my writing about fifteen years ago and here came the rejections slips. I see it as a game and stay with it because I love it.
How do you deal with rejection?
I love it because it inspires me to keep writing. You can’t take it personal as a writer when an editor rejects your work so move on and write more. It took me about 5 years before I got my first story published in a literary magazine and then I got one in 3am magazine and things picked up from there. I probably reject most of my writing first before anybody else does so it doesn’t matter that much to me.
Who are some writers you admire?
Bukowski, John and Dan Fante, Hesse, Jim Marrs, and probably too many to list. I’ll throw in song writers as well. Tom Waits is my favorite artist/writer of all time and Brian Wilson is on another level especially during the Pet Sounds/Smile era. I’m obsessed with both albums. I would say Evan Dando from The Lemonheads because he tells a narrative on his albums like It’s A Shame About Ray which is my favorite album ever. I like Johnny Aries from The Drums and Three Wounded Birds because his lyrics are poetic and his music fits perfectly. The Smiths would be in there too simply because of the poetic lyrics and their music. They combined sad lyrics with happy music and that fascinates me.
Is writing the only artistic medium you do?
Yes. I consider economics an artistic medium particularly Austrian Economics and consider myself a nerd on global monetary policy. It’s a hobby and I read and research constantly. I’m fortunate right now to just be writing until the money runs out ha. I think it’s funny that many writers refer to themselves as artists, this seems strange to me but whatever. If you get on Instagram you see this a lot and it’s this whole weird social subculture where everyone is an artist for putting moon or fire in a poem. To each their own but the fun of getting better through rejection is lost now because of social media. Now you can have a million followers because a reality star tagged your poem. These truly are the days of Lamech and now anyone can be Instafamous. I read literary journals because the writing is better quality in my opinion and that inspires me to write more. I will read something especially on Your One Phone Call ha and think damn he’s good or she’s great then I go back to the blank page.
What would be some advice you would give to your younger self?
Probably not to get a college degree in Recreation and Leisure and that’s what it actually says on my diploma and is a running joke among friends and women find that interesting for about five minutes. I would have done some things different like not lift weights so young which contributed to me having a stroke at thirteen. But that has given me something to inspire others because when you learn how to do everything over it makes other so called stressful life events seem like nothing. I would tell my younger self that hey you’re pretty blessed so enjoy the ride.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write because you love it and remember your next door neighbor and dentist have books out too. Keep a sense of humor about it and if you ever sell a million copies of your chapbook I’ll personally buy all the beer for the party at your house.
What is your writing process?
I have no writing process. I never took any writing classes or creative round table discussions on how to write poetry. I have a hole in the back of my brain and it gives me an advantage to beat myself as I write the next one. My last novel Fallen is a paranormal romance and you can buy it or all my books on Amazon as well.
(Shameless Plug) Thanks for the interview and publishing my second poem here.