Sweet Fiction: Q&A with Katie Berger

Today’s Q&A is with Katie Berger, a contributor of fiction to the second issue of Sugared Water.

Katie Berger grew up and lives in Nebraska. She recently graduated with her MFA from the University of Alabama.

a little taste of “Valentine’s Dayfrom SW#002:

In that same non-season my neighbor Adam banished his bed from his bedroom. A single scoot-creak across to the door, a question mark of dust, a bump on the wall that led to a corner-sized dent, and his bedroom fell under new governance. It was no longer an oligarchy of dreams and disenfranchised hands groping blindly about under the rule of sleep—the new space filled with nothing but a fuzzy sock and ideas. Adam began to fill the room with a work bench, a set of notebooks, a pile of pens, and a now-kinked Slinky I saw on television last month. Adam then announced he was building a robot.

SW: What are you currently reading?
KB: I just started The City and the City by China Mieville.

SW: What are you working on now?
KB: I recently finished my chapbook, Swans, a sequence of poems that used noir/detective conventions as scaffolding. Tentatively, my next project might involve a failed moon colony and/or pre-fabricated nostalgia, although I’ve not yet decided if it will be prose, poetry, or a mix of both.

SW: What writers/works have inspired you?
KB: Bruno Schulz and his idea of “autobiography of spirit,” or construction of a deeply personal mythology, has certainly influenced my work. Proust, too–he’s got such a heart-stopping way of mapping desire and memory. And because I work as a product copywriter, I have a gaping soft spot for 1980’s Sears Wish Books.

SW: Where do you seek inspiration?
KB: It’s strange–sometimes an image or scene will stick in my brain for months or years before I sit down to explore it in words and slowly build a reality around it. My inspiration is always those tiny little images, those whispers of phrases. From there, I add the scenery.

SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
KB: Fits and starts–I’ll go several months without working on anything at all. But once I do, it’s slow and steady, about an hour a day every few days. Swans, which is about 20 pages, took about five months. I also like to tackle the same subject/world but rove amongst prose, prose poetry, verse, etc. That modulation really excites me.

SW: With what are you obsessed?
KB: College football, The Adventures of Pete and Pete, tea, visiting Seattle again, watching Jeopardy. Prose vs. verse. Star Wars vs. Trek.



Time Travel: Theory and Practice, Dancing Girl Press, 2013.

Katie Berger | SW#002

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Pushcart Prize Nominations

We’re pleased to say that we’re nominating for the Pushcart Prize starting this year. Each year, mags/presses are allowed to nominate 6 works. Two issues fall within the calendar year (SW #002 and the forthcoming Epistolary), so we’ve chosen a few from each. Our envelope of nominations is on its way to be added to the list, and we look forward to the press’ decision. Winners, as chosen by Pushcart, will printed in the Best of the Small Presses anthology.

Our 6 nominations are as follows:

Creative Nonfiction

“Mulberries” by Dustin Parsons, from SW#002.
“A Letter of Love and Betrayal” by Meg Tuite, from Epistolary.


“Everything Afterwards Had Been” by Anna King, from SW#002.
“Letter to Virginia” by Lori Brack, from Epistolary.
“Retired Freedom Fighter Responds to Her Lover’s Marriage Proposal” by Emily Rose Cole, from Epistolary.
“Dearest Eli” by Sarah McCartt-Jackson, from Epistolary.

In honor of the PP noms, we’ve decided to tweet 140 (or fewer) characters from each of the contributors in SW#002. From now to 14 December, you’ll find little snippets of poetry & prose in our sweet little feed.

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Sweet Poetry: Q&A with Anna King Ivey

Today’s Q&A is with Anna King Ivey, a contributor of poetry to the second issue of Sugared Water.

Anna Ivey is working on a PhD in poetry at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Her most recent publications have been featured in Antithesis, Stone Highway Review, West Trade, and White Stag literary magazines. She lives in McDonough, Georgia with her husband Chad and her daughter Aralyn. Anna and Chad make soy candles for fun and attempt to sell them.

a little taste of “Everything Afterwards Had Beenfrom SW#002:

After the girl becomes an inspector she learns the whereabouts of symptoms painted with lightning. After the girl becomes an inspector she jettisons the cobblestones lodged in her grief. After the girl becomes an inspector she finally sees that no diagnosis is without new respective parameters of love…

SW: What are you currently reading?
AI: I am working on Fearless by Eric Blehm–it’s the story of Navy SEAL Adam Brown. I don’t usually read a lot of non-fiction, but a family member recommended the work after the piece became inspirational to him during recovery from drug addiction. Right before that I read Cane River by Lalita Tademy, which I loved.

SW: What are you working on now?
AI: I am toying with my third manuscript. I’m about halfway finished with it, but have been focusing more so on trying to publish my finished pieces instead of producing new material. My first manuscript is still looking for a publishing home which I know is out there somewhere.

SW: What writers/works have inspired you?
AI: Sylvia Plath is my favorite, as is the little-known Greek poet George Seferis. I also really enjoy Wallace Stevens. The fiction works that have really moved me are Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, even though it’s very controversial in the academic community. I love Mythology by Edith Hamilton, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

SW: Where do you seek inspiration?
AI: I am very moved by travel, though I don’t get to do so as often as I like. Usually having some quiet gives me the peace to begin processing all that I observe and what moves me from those observations. For a long time I wrote about my own grief of losing people I loved, but now instead of writing about what is past, I write about where I am in the present and all of the horrid, lovely accessories that come with it.

SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
AI: I usually start with a word or a phrase in mind, usually something that is visual. Sometimes unusual words, or words I like, will be enough to begin a poem. I have become a predominately prose poet, so I have to find a balance between poetic language that bends towards the surreal and the imaginary and still ground it enough to be in some kind of reality. I’ve grown a lot since entering my PhD program at Georgia State University and thank everyone who has gone through workshop with me and had to say, “Uh, I have no idea what this means?”

SW: With what are you obsessed?
AI: Right now, it’s trying to publish my book! I’m also really working on incorporating the idea of Lord of the Rings, Third Eye Blind, Garth Brooks, and being a newly-wed into my newest project. Oh, and Crossfit! I am an avid Crossfit gymgoer, and I’m completely obsessed with my local gym, Crossfit Pulse.

Anna King Ivey | SW#002

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Sweet Creative Nonfiction: Q&A with Dustin Parsons

Today’s Q&A is with Dustin Parsons, a contributor of creative nonfiction to issue #002 of Sugared Water.

Dustin Parsons has work appearing recently in New Delta Review, DIAGRAM, The Collagist, Indiana Review, The Laurel Review, Sugared Water, and Seneca Review. He lives in Western New York with his wife and two sons.

a little taste of “Transmissionfrom SW#002:

We decide that the best way is to drop the transmission onto my dad’s chest and let him hold it there while I replace the seal. We could have found some padding, I suppose, an old mattress or the seat to a ’56 Willys sitting in his shop, but this seems faster and, besides, we’ll have a man who has his ass behind the weight when it’s time to put the transmission back. He lowers it as slowly as he can, but it plants itself on his sternum like a funnel cloud kissing ground.

SW: What are you currently reading?
DP: Mathew Gavin Frank’s Preparing the Ghost, a beautiful lyric book-length essay about his search for information regarding the man who took the first photo of a giant squid. Run, don’t walk to this book. I also just finished Hum by Jamaal May which was fantastic.

SW: What are you working on now?
DP: I’ve been researching the 80s oil boom and the early 90s movement by several southwest Kansas counties to secede from the rest of the state. This was happening just as I was graduating from high school and contemplating my own exodus from the state.

SW: What writers/works have inspired you?
DP: Theresa Cha’s Dictee is a real inspiration for my own work, as is William H. Gass’s Omensetter’s Luck. They are both books I read nearly every year.

SW: Where do you seek inspiration?
DP: I look to my own experiences, but often the best inspiration comes from my own research on the more obscure elements of a memory I’m working through on the page. My essay on the mulberry tree that appeared in this magazine was profoundly affected by the bit of information I found that said the pollen of a mulberry tree is released at half the speed of sound. First, it sounded so cool, and it ended up not only being the first line, but also dictated the breathless, fast form of the essay. There is no substitute for research–it is the information you don’t know about an experience that holds most of the power in an essay. Imagine how excited you were when you found out something you didn’t know–that excitement translates to the reader.

SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
DP: With kids, the writing process is a bit more fast and loose than it used to be. An hour or two after the boys go down to bed. Twenty minutes reading through a paragraph when they are eating lunch. I write at a desk only once in every three sessions. I wrote my most recent essay in the waiting room of the Honda dealership getting my car’s oil changed. I’m back to pen and paper for the first time since I was in grad school. There are so many drafts I don’t bother counting. Each one shifts one small degree, but you put enough of them together and suddenly the essay isn’t what you thought it would be any more. I love seeing the first draft in my notebook, and comparing it to the final draft.

SW: With what are you obsessed?
DP: Right now, the way images and text work together to create meaning. I finished Joe Sacco’s Palestine recently, and was totally sold on the graphic essay. I’ve been looking through public domain images of schematics, diagrams, and “exploded view” catalogues of machinery, and adding essays to them. The exchange is fascinating, even when it doesn’t work.

Dustin Parsons | blog | SW#002

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Sweet Poetry: Q&A with Jessica Bixel

Today’s Q&A is with Jessica Bixel, a contributor of poetry to issues #001 & #002 of Sugared Water.

Jessica Bixel edits Rufous City Review with some of her favorite pals. Her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Birdfeast, Parcel, Houseguest Magazine, Lines + Stars, District Lit, Handsome, Sink Review, Leveler, and Transom Journal.

a little taste of “The Sister and Other Inventionsfrom SW#002:

I am calling myself magpie, lilac,
moon in a ravine before a river.
Lighthouse. I do this for you,
of course.

SW: What are you working on now?
JB: A silly novel. A series of poems about fire and loss and mothers. Letter writing.

SW: What writers have inspired you?
JB: Larissa Szporluk and Jennifer Chang, both stunning poets and stunning humans alike. Joshua Poteat. Brigit Pegeen Kelly. Allison Titus.

SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
JB: I read somewhere the following: I’m very tolerant of stillness. I’d rather not move my hands just to move them. I’ll wait for the right thing. I hope I’m not misquoting. But I’ve come to tolerate spending more time not writing than writing. My process starts with a long stretch of silence, of listening, of (sometimes frustrating) stillness. But the wait, when I find the right thing, is worth it.

Jessica Bixel | web | SW#001 | SW#002

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Sweet Poetry: Q&A with Wendy Creekmore

Today’s Q&A is with Wendy Creekmore, a contributor of poetry to issues #001 & #002 of Sugared Water.

Wendy Creekmore holds a M.A. in Integrative Studies from Northern Kentucky University. She has a library of paper slips with writing straight from her thoughts. Her work has appeared in Sugared Water #001 and #002, The Journal of Kentucky Studies, and collaborative work published in Stone Telling, as well as a collaborative chapbook forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press in late 2014.

a little taste of “This Place Turned Headstonefrom SW#002:

Like dust hung heavy
in lungs
and veins of wiped out Blue Gem coal.

Fiddle songs sing
let it die, let it die

I ache to slice the plum liver of this town
ballad for those one breath short
of outrunning a-foot-a-night vine.

SW: What are you currently reading?
WC: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont, and sweet water by Christina Baker Kline.

SW: What are you working on now?
WC: No big projects at the moment. I am constantly writing, but it usually comes in spurts. This often leaves me with pieces (of writing), this and that; most of it I hope to put together in some way, someday.

SW: What writers/works have inspired you?
WC: Oh, an array of folks and their work—Dorothy Allison, Sherman Alexie, Barbara Kingsolver, Jack Kerouac, Alice Walker, bell hooks, Ken Kesey, Audre Lorde, Howard Zinn, Natasha Trethewey, Allen Ginsburg, Zora Neale Hurston, Kurt Vonnegut, William Burroughs, Toni Morrison, Pablo Naruda and I could go on …

SW: Where do you seek inspiration?
WC: Funny thing about inspiration for me, it often comes out of nowhere. I’ll be driving and there it is—by the roadside, an idea, a memory—a string of words that come out in a conversation. I’ve looked for inspiration before, but never found it to be a magical as the kind that comes freely and serendipitously.

SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
WC: Everything I write starts as bits of paper everywhere, partial files on my Mac, or notes on my iPhone, iPad—where ever I can get it written down or typed into permanently before it’s gone forever. That’s the easy part. Part One of the real work is in organizing the thoughts, and scribbling, into something that needs to be bigger and go further. I have to let things simmer before getting to the other hard part, which for me is editing. The final product never feels final, but eventually I have to take a deep breath and push ‘send.’

SW: With what are you obsessed?
WC: Travel. And holding onto my free spirit. Luckily, the two go together pretty well. I don’t write a lot when I travel; however, when I’ve been able to visit some wonderful new places, far, far away and I can always see in hindsight that the clutter has been cleared and the writing flows effortlessly—often into some pretty damn good stuff.

Wendy Creekmore  | SW#001 | SW#002

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Heck yeah, we’re reading again!

Sugared Water seeks submissions for issue #004. (And possibly one or two to finish out the pages of #003.)

SW is an independent lit mag published & handbound in Cincinnati, OH. Our cover art is original and produced in limited edition (240 or fewer, usually around 150). We read poetry & prose, with a particular interest in flash and micro forms, lyric and personal essays, prose poetry, free verse poetry, and individual, strong senses of voice and place. We will consider 3-5 poems or up to 4,500 words in fiction of creative nonfiction.

You can see more on our current issues here: http://sugaredwatermagazine.wordpress.com/issues/
And our complete guidelines here: http://sugaredwatermagazine.wordpress.com/submission-guidelines/

We read via Submittable and are listed at Duotrope.

Poetry: 3-5 poems, free verse or modern forms preferred (broken sonnets, modern American haiku, for example).
Fiction: up to 4,500 words with a preference for flash & micro forms.
Creative Nonfiction: up to 4,500 words. We like personal essay, lyric essay, character sketches, lists, pieces written in the form of something else, letters. Show us something true and wonderfully messy, or lyric and pristine. Just show us who you are.

We’re also interested in comics, sequential art, mixed media art, art in general, and graphic narratives including illustrated lists, sketchbook pages, photos with handwritten words overtop, and any manner of eye candy.


Sweet Poetry: Q&A with Christen Leppla

Today’s Q&A is with Christen Leppla, a contributor of poetry to issues #001 and #002 of Sugared Water.

Christen Leppla currently lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Originally from Cincinnati, OH, she traveled to Lake Superior to write, teach, and study as a Poetry/Fiction MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University.  Christen lives with her dog, Dr. Watson, who spends most of his time sleeping while she works on her first novel-length project.  Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Quarterly, Sugared Water, and East Coast Literary Review.

a little taste of “Some Kind of Reflectionfrom SW#001:

There are trees that grow up from my toes
with millions of rings in their trunks, I am sure.
If I could pull them through my heels like splinters,
I would pull apart my muscle and reach between the folds,
snap my bones like an apple tree limb
and touch the pith, the part that is soft,
if only to know it for myself.

SW: What are you currently reading?
CL: Right now I’m reading Tampa by Alissa Nutting. I just moved to a new apartment, and this novel is the reason my boxes are still unpacked.

SW: What are you working on now?
CL: I’m working on a novel set in Southwest Ohio, a region that crosses over into what is technically Appalachia. I’m playing with what it means to be part of an Appalachian community, but also resistant to and separate from Appalachian culture. It’ll be the first novel I’ll have seen to completion and I’m excited, scared, irritated, and hopeful about the book—all of the normal emotions that hit a writer in the middle of a novel project, I think. I’m also working on getting a chapbook together, pulling poetry I’ve written over the last couple years and writing new poems that I hope will find their way in.

SW: What writers/works have inspired you?
CL: Too many to name them all. I’m always inspired by what I read in some way, whether it’s the way a poet breaks a line, the way a writer pulls me in to sit in the space of a sentence, or a character that makes me feel something unexpected. I recently read Bulawayo’s We Need New Names, and it did all of those things for me. Ever since I read Beloved as an undergrad, Toni Morrison has been at the top of the list.

SW: Where do you seek inspiration?
CL: Everyday things. The other day I was at the airport and an older man sitting alone took out a package of peanut M&Ms and dumped the whole thing into his shirt pocket. He then proceeded to pick them out one by one and ate them while he waited for his plane. Right away, I knew I would write about that man and his M&Ms.

I read a lot.

I also try to be a sponge around writers who know more than I do. Being in a MFA program has put me in a place where I’m surrounded by talented people who have incredible ideas and are accomplishing ambitious goals. They’ve been a huge source of inspiration for me over the past year. They push me to take risks and imagine more for my writing.

SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
CL: It’s funny, I have always tried to force a process on myself. I used to think, “Writers always wake up and write in the early hours of the morning,” or, “if I’m going to be a writer, I need to write every singe day without exception.” Once I stopped forcing myself to adhere to someone else’s process, I wrote more. I don’t write everyday, though I try to do revision or research on days I don’t write. Reading is also part of my process, whether that be nonfiction as research or something that achieves a technique I’m striving for in my own writing. I spend more time revising a piece than I do writing the first draft. When I think I’m finished with something, I put it away for a while so I can get some distance and be more objective during my final read-through. That said, I try to be open to my process changing. What works for this project may not work for the next.  I’m okay with that. Maintaining schedules has never been something I’m good at.

SW: With what are you obsessed?
CL: My dog, Dr. Watson, and coffee bags. They’re like tea bags, but with coffee! One of the greatest inventions of our time.

Christen Leppla | SW#001 | SW#002

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Sweet Poetry: Q&A with Yim Tan Wong

Today’s Q&A is with Yim Tan Wong, a contributor of poetry to the inaugural issue of Sugared Water.

Yim Tan Wong holds an MFA from Hollins University and is a Kundiman Emerging Asian American Poets Fellow. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from over thirty print and online journals, including The Cortland Review, Little Patuxent Review, Tahoma Literary Review, A capella Zoo, Phoebe, RATTLE, and Crab Orchard Review.

a little taste of “Angelfishfrom SW#001:

Do they believe the world
undulates beyond artificial
vegetation, fins, and algae?
Do they trust bite-sized food
drifts from a Greater Above?

Ahoy from Upper Here,
I say, and tap the glass.
Fogging their view,
I introduce myself, as
God, water, weather.

SW: What are you currently reading?
YTW: I recently finished reading Oliver de la Paz’s Requiem for the Orchard (University of Akron Press, 2010), a brilliant and very personal poetry collection, written in a flurry after he was diagnosed with throat cancer, and just as he was on the verge of fatherhood.  These are his most personal poems yet, and I admire how much of himself he gifts to the page as he reflects upon boyhood, growing up in a small Oregon town, emerging from surgery, and becoming a parent.  Next on the docket: 1) Both Flesh and Not (Hamish Hamilton, 2012), a collection of David Foster Wallace essays; 2) Richard Hoffman’s poetry collection, Emblem (Barrow Street Press, 2011); and Letters Between Friends (Abrams, 1994), letters between painter René Magritte and his confidant, friend, and attorney, Harry Torczyner.

SW: What are you working on now?
YTW: I patiently await a publisher to pick up my first full-length poetry manuscript, which has been a finalist for Four Way Books’ Levis Prize and the Alice James Books/Kundiman Poetry Prize.  Meanwhile, I have three other manuscripts in progress, and the bulk of my energy goes into what I refer to as “Book 2,” which interacts with the paintings and language philosophy of René Magritte, the work of logician Ludwig Wittgenstein, the pessimist philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, and the troublesome views of the irate but at times quite lucid and brilliant Friedrich Nietzsche.  Interest in their world views stems from my attempt to comprehend the level of violence that humans inflict upon one other, timeless cycles of rage and oppression, and although I know there are so many factors (psychological, social, economic, political, and the list goes on) which can lead to violent acts, I have this great hope that if language could be perfected to translate sufficiently one’s sense of injustice, disappointments, fears and needs, that physical and weapon-driven aggression would diminish.  I know this simplifies a complex matter, but we must start somewhere.

SW: What writers/works have inspired you?
YTW: My favorite writers are actually fiction writers: namely, Salman Rushdie, for his literary and historical erudition, his love of language and fanciful play with words, his quick wit, and his ability to convey his love of storytelling and respect for the permanent connections made between parent and child when stories are shared, as conveyed in his book Haroun and the Sea of Stories.  Also, I adore F. Scott Fitzgerald.  The Great Gatsby moves at such an elegant clip, and not a word is out of place or used frivolously.  Must add to the list: Tao Lin–for his brazenness.

As for poets who rank high in a long list of admired poets: Anne Sexton; Walt Whitman; Christian Hawkey; Ai; Matthew Zapruder, Thomas Lux; Natasha Trethewey; Wendy Xu; Tomaž Šalamun; Jee Leong Koh; Tamiko Beyer; Tony Hoagland; Franz Wright…I could go on for quite a while!

SW: Where do you seek inspiration?
YTW: From observation, listening, and discovering connections between seemingly disparate things. Music, lots music, from The Velvet Underground to techno to Philip Glass.  Paintings, photographs, and installation art. Contemporary artists on radar: Tara Donovan; Kara Walker; Tessa Farmer; Cindy Sherman; and Shepard Fairey.  Lots of films, too, since I am a highly visual person.  The writers/directors who engage my imagination most are David Lynch, the Coen Brothers, and Jean-Luc Godard; and the films I can watch over and over are Diva, La Jetée, Metropolis, and Eraserhead.

SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
YTW: Just sit down and do it, stand up, pace, or start thinking and see where those thoughts and language intersect.  Oftentimes, if I cannot generate a new poem, I either read (prose, poetry, newspapers, etc.) or tinker with a piece that is undergoing revision, and that usually leads to new ideas and eventually a new poem.  To make writing happen, I take action, but seldom wait for inspiration.  You have to chase it.  Sometimes, as I am reading a book or listening to an album, I will start composing new work, or get an idea about how to edit a piece that is under revision.  The trigger does not necessarily even have to have anything to do with the idea generated, which is rather fascinating.

SW: With what are you obsessed?
YTW: Running and spinning.  Regular exercise is such a wonderful way to develop discipline, and this will hopefully affect one’s writing regimen as well as fortify the spirit against what every writer must deal with and accept: obstacles, rejection, failure, and the requisite development of the ability to work repeatedly, single-mindedly, and vigorously toward a goal.

Yim Tan Wong | SW#001

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Sweet Poetry: Q&A with Victor David Sandiego

Today’s Q&A is with Victor David Sandiego, a contributor of genre to the inaugural issue of Sugared Water.

Victor David Sandiego lives in the high desert of central México where he writes, studies, and plays drums with jazz combos and in musical / poetry collaborations. His work appears in various journals (Cerise Press, Crab Creek Review, Floating Bridge Review, Off The Coast, Generations Literary Journal, Poetry Salzburg Review, Sugared Water [ of course], others) and has been featured on public radio. He is the founder and current editor of Subprimal Poetry Art. His website is victordavid.com.

a little taste of “Advice from My Fatherfrom SW#001:

The fork approaches his mouth, a wet nest
of birds
tumbles to the plate.

I start to wonder if a reunion was a good idea.
My father seems an odd stranger.

SW: What are you currently reading?
VDS: Lately, I’ve been returning to books that I’ve read before. I just finished reading Dear Judas by Robison Jeffers for the 6th or 7th time. It continues to fascinate me with its language and rhythm. I read various works of Jorge Borges in both English and Spanish. And I’ve started The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz for the second time.

SW: What are you working on now?
VDS: I recently completed a manuscript entitled The Desert Gardens. That is to say, I reached the end. I still need to revise it, but I’ll let it sit for a while first. Meanwhile, I’ve started my next project, a series of pieces about Guanajuato, the city in central Mexico where I live. I also continue to work on getting various pieces or manuscripts published.

SW: What writers/works have inspired you?
VDS: Since I was a child, I’ve been an avid reader. There’s been so many works and authors that have reached into me that it would be impossible for me to list them all. The mysticism of Carlos Castaneda attracted me at a young age and has stayed with me since. I’ve been influenced by Jorge Borges, Gabriel García Márquez, María Baranda, Isaac Asimov, Dante, Kahil Gibran, Homer, Jose Saramago, and (for a while at least) Charles Bukowski.

SW: Where do you seek inspiration?
VDS: I don’t exactly go looking for inspiration. I try to live my life so that it finds me. Sometimes it finds me when I wake up in the morning or in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. Sometimes it finds me when I walk through the city. I’m an observant person and things get mashed away in my mind for a later re-telling. But because I have visual and sensory dyslexia, things don’t always come out in the same way they went in.

SW: Would you talk a bit about your writing process?
VDS: I frequently begin with an odd bit of thought, a line or an image. I don’t usually know where they come from but I have learned to recognize the door that is being opened for me, but not necessarily by me. So I just go through the door and follow what I find there to wherever it leads.

At every juncture I look for ways to see beyond the obvious to what lies beneath. For instance, a person who is afraid of dogs doesn’t just see a dog and feel afraid. That’s too easy. Instead they may see a whole painful future reflected from a painful past spilling from his saliva. Everything can be peeled back, including the things I have already peeled back. My desire is to keep probing as deeply as I can.

Much of my work in the last several years has involved writing an entire manuscript. That is, I set out to connect a series of words into a series of pieces that are a conscious part of a whole volume. And in one case at least, the volumes themselves are part of a larger whole. The five volumes of my poetry pentology explore and commemorate a journey that begins with physical depravation in Africa and continues in an expanding sphere that passes through modern life in the Americas into a reawakened mysticism.

SW: With what are you obsessed?
VDS: If one reads a lot of my more recent work, they might conclude that I’m obsessed with death. But I’m not really. I’m more concerned with leaving something behind that will help make the world a better place. Ideas are communicable and I would like to help spread a few. I’m obsessed with the idea of the human race shaping their ways of thinking and being, ways that don’t automatically assume conflict and fear. I’d like more people to see themselves as citizens of the world and stay away from any form of nationalism.


I have two books available right now and others in the works.

 The Strange & Beautiful Life of Daniel Raskovich
An imagined biography of an odd everyman character, darkly funny and strangely poignant. A frank take on contemporary society. That’s what the publisher wrote anyway. I think Daniel is fun.

 39 Boys on the Ground
Volume 1 of the pentology mentioned above. 39 interwoven snapshots depicting the darkly humorous, insightful, surreal and brutally honest worlds of boys as they climb from the hollows of their youth into the world of men.

The easiest way to get more info on these is on my books page: http://victordavid.com/books

Victor David Sandiego | web | SW#001

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