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 Father” from SW#001:
The fork approaches his mouth, a wet nest
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