Authors Talk: Claire Polders

Claire Polders bio photoToday we are pleased to feature author Claire Polders as our Authors Talk series contributor. In her podcast, Claire discusses her short story “Fistfuls” and the various ways she starts a story. Sometimes she starts with a philosophical question, other times the story is based around a true event that she experienced, and sometimes (in the case of “Fistfuls”) she writes from curiosity and allows the story to guide her.

You can read Claire’s story “Fistfuls” in Issue 17 of Superstition Review here.

Authors Talk: Kate Fetherston

Kate Fetherston Bio PhotoToday we are pleased to feature author Kate Fetherston as our Authors Talk series contributor. Kate first discusses the poem “Particles, Waves, Hello, Goodbye” which was first published in Issue 18 of Superstition Review.

Kate speaks about her poetic process is similar to her artistic process. She is constantly searching for the balance between the “quotidian and the abstract.” Kate talks about the way that poetry is a compass and not a map for her. She reads from different poets to illustrate this point.

You can read Kate’s poem in issue 18 here. And click here for Kate’s website.

#ArtLitPhx: Four Chambers presents Get Lit: Stop, Collaborate, and Listen

Flyer for Get Lit event. Thursday June 8th at Valley bar. Thursday June 8th, Four Chambers literary magazine will be hosting Get Lit: Stop, Collaborate, and Listen. This is a night of literary discussion and community building hosted by Phoenix’s Poet Laureate Rosemarie Dombrowski. This Month’s topic will be on Response, Mixed Media, and Collaboration.

The event will be held in the Reading Room at Valley Bar. (Basement, 130 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004) from 7-8PM. Valley Bar is located on Monroe St down the alley between Central and 1st Ave. Space is limited, so arrive early to make sure you can get a seat. RSVP on Facebook here, and click here to find out more about Four Chambers Press.

Guest Post, Leslie Standridge, A Year in Review: Navigating Oneself After Graduation

Leslie Standridge headshot photo“Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” – Gabriel García Márquez

In about two months, I will have been graduated from college for a full year. Really, a year is not a terribly long amount of time. So why does this feel so monumental?

For me, graduation was but a momentary emotional catharsis that lasted long enough for me to feel somewhat relieved until my panic set in. Of course, I worried about the things most graduates do, like finances and the job market and whether or not it was a good idea to get two Liberal Arts degrees in this economy. However, the majority of my distress came from not knowing what my next step was or, really, who I was outside of being a student.

For seventeen years, my identity was wrapped up in being a student. Throughout junior high and high school, I was an honors/AP kid—I spent every waking hour at school or at home doing school work. When I graduated high school, I dove headfirst in college because I knew it was what I was supposed to do, and I believe it’s what I wanted to do too. Throughout undergrad, I felt like the natural next step for me was graduate school. Yet, as I was reviewing universities and degree programs, I came to the realization that I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do outside of going to school.

I weighed my options. I could see myself doing a variety of things, and yet, I felt no pull towards any particular direction. This isn’t to say that I was lacking in passion or motivation, but that, when it came down to it, I was so unsure of what was the right path to take. Pursuing one direction would mean sacrificing another, and I wasn’t ready to do that, even after four whole years of undergrad.  So, feeling like a failure, I decided to put off graduate school indefinitely and set a goal to “find myself” first. Sounds simple, right?

The unfortunate truth is that finding yourself is nowhere near easy. Identity itself is complicated. We all have a general sense of who we are, but how much do we really know about ourselves outside of a certain context? Where does identity begin and end? Can you really just leave one identity and enter another?

The answer to the latter question, I think, is no. But maybe the problem here is that we are expected to do just that. Maybe the reason that me and many, many others feel so lost after graduation is that we’re expected to walk off the stage and into our new selves. There’s so much pressure on millennials to be self-assured and immediately successful as soon as they grab that faux diploma. Yet, that pressure won’t facilitate any meaningful growth.

This pressure can make us lose sight of who we are and what we truly want. School is all consuming, and once it’s over, it really does feel as if we are left with no real identity and maybe, if you are like me, no plan for the future. However, a year into this madness, I feel as if that’s more of a blessing than a curse.

Discovering who you are and what you want isn’t a glowy, carefree experience—it’s grueling. There’s so much you have to learn through trial and error, through making decisions that turn out to be mistakes and by making mistakes that turn out to be great decisions. It’s not a particularly fast process, either, but it is rewarding. Since graduation, I’ve moved into my own apartment, started a new job as an automotive copywriter, adopted a second dog and discovered a multitude of interests and disinterests. All of these things, as mundane as they can sometimes be, have contributed to me developing a better sense of self.

So whether you are newly graduated, or it’s just over the horizon, and you are feeling lost and frustrated, know that you aren’t alone. It’s perfectly normal to feel off kilter for a while. However, you now have so much time—so, so, so much time—to figure it all out.

 

Guest Post, Maari Carter: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Obsession

Headshot photo of Maari CarterFor the past thirty years my grandfather has kept almost every single issue of Golf Magazine he’s received in the mail. A constant source of vexation for my grandmother, these issues fill the shelves of armoires, stand knee-high in his closet, and serve as a veritable fortress surrounding his TV stand. Every now and again, he’ll take one from a pile and peruse images of Jack Nicklaus captured mid-swing, Arnold Palmer lining up a putt, and advertisements selling everything from Big Bertha drivers to golf gloves. Being the stoic and laconic man that he is, my grandfather’s obsession with golf always made sense to me. It was a game he could play alone; a brief time during the week when all he had to contend with was himself and weather conditions. As far as obsessions go, it’s about as harmless as you can get. We’re not exactly talking Sartre’s mescaline-induced chats with crustaceans here- more like Tarantino’s frequent call back to Fruit Brute cereal, or Hirschfield’s habit of hiding his daughter Nina’s name in most of his drawings. There’s a familiarity there- one that evokes some element of order or existential meaning in its preservation of an artifact- in keeping it close and ever-relevant. And despite her aesthetic objections, I think my grandmother recognizes this as well, because not once has she ever asked him to get rid of them.

As for me, I’m only just beginning to recognize the nature of my own obsessive gestures.

A couple of weeks ago, I revisited Spinoza’s Ethics for the first time since undergrad and came across the passage in which he discusses the mind-body problem by examining the nature of sleepwalkers; how they often wake, surprised at the actions their bodies were able to execute while the mind seemingly took a backseat. As is typically the case, the text elicited a different response this time around. In terms of morality, this conceit provided interesting jumping off points that I had never really explored in my own work, and that led to a bevy of questions, such as: if mind and body are ontologically inseparable, is there any difference between the moral agent who only thinks of committing an immoral act and the agent who actually commits said immoral act through bodily extension? And isn’t imposing an etiological framework onto questions of morality further proof that it can’t be objective, because it relies upon the individual’s subjective conceptions of what constitutes cause and effect? And do we merely perceive something as good only by virtue of its being desired? And doesn’t the notion that a person’s ability to dictate what is genuinely good presuppose the existence of an idealized model human? And, by extension, if mind-independent moral properties don’t exist, then wouldn’t each person’s concept of an idealized model human be constructed in their own image and therefore be inherently fallible? I think you’re starting to see where I’m going with this…

Within three days I had written six poems entitled “Sleepwalker,” in an attempt to deal with the existential aftermath of this curious deluge. At one point, I even expressed concern to a fellow poet and friend, saying that I was worried about devoting too much poetic capital to a singular device for fear that it become gimmicky. But being the ever-supportive and wise friend that she is, she cautioned me against questioning it too much. Just go with it, she said. There’s a reason for the obsession. Since then, I’ve written five more “Sleepwalker” poems. Of course, I’m not so naïve as to believe that one poetic sequence will effectively bring about any sort of resolutions to the questions I have regarding morality, but resolution isn’t necessarily the goal. It’s enough to simply participate the act of recollection and extrapolation; to know that, when the mood strikes, there are artifacts of experience that I can return to again and again, because they represent something foundational to my understanding. At different times I’ve written poems for various reasons. Lately, I’ve been trying to write poems that examine how I know a thing; the calculus behind my knowing it. Because more and more, writing and sharing that writing with others is becoming a way to put my worldview in conversation with theirs; to allow my own subjective experience to be complicated, altered, and influenced through reciprocity.

As artists and writers, it’s not always easy to resist the inclination to impose our own ways of making meaning onto others. Because so much value is put on the unique elements of our individual style, syntax, point of view, and what have you, we tend to want to apply those when considering another’s work. But I do think there is a moment that precedes this reflex; a moment in which we want another’s experience to stand unqualified. Perhaps, that is a bit of an oversimplification. But mostly, in a lot of my daily interactions, I think I often get in my own way; I sometimes default to the notion that another’s perception somehow discredits or calls into question my experience. But there is something that occurs during the initial reading of a poem that actively opposes such qualifications and encourages me to reserve judgment. Coming to a poem is an act of surrender, or if not surrender, it’s at least an act of reception. In this way, I’m often surprised by poems- not just by their direction, scope, ambition, etc. It’s more like I’m startled by the gravitational shift away from egocentricity; how it feels to melt into a poem; how it takes a while to become solid again.

Much of my mental energy as of late has been devoted to a pre-prelim reading list of critical theory texts; so much so that on more than one occasion different friends have joked that I’d be perfectly justified in moving forward with that Bakhtin 4 Eva tattoo I keep threatening to get. I mean, you can only be that person who brings up polyglossia during casual conversation for so long until something needs to be done about it, right? But, truthfully, obsession has its place in art, in writing. And as much as I’ve hesitated to utilize the same subjects, objects, ideas, and figures in my poems, there is something to be said for paying attention to such patterns of cognition, for being aware of the through lines that are inherent to one’s intrinsic, critical thinking. After a somewhat creative drought, it’s been extremely productive to revel in this latest obsession. By not constantly trying to determine the source or validity of it, I’ve come to see it not as intrusive, or as a failure of my singular imagination. Rather, I can accept it as an antecedent to wonder… or as Spinoza might say, a point of origin from which infinite things follow- one I intend to ride all the way to the ground.

Guest Post, Dmitry Borshch: Ways of Drawing

Loaded Kiss
Loaded Kiss

Ways of drawing: philosopher Patrick Maynard and artist Dmitry Borshch in conversation on art

 

Patrick Maynard describes his work thus: “Most of my publications and talks concern the nature, function, and perception of pictorial representations and similar expressive forms. They are theoretical, but argued from ‘real world’ engagement with things that matter to people, from the prehistoric to our own times. These discussions not only feature a broad variety of illustrations, but, as ‘substantive’ philosophy, are typically based on them. They are of interest not only to philosophers but also to artists, art critics and historians.” Dr. Maynard is the author of Drawing Distinctions (Cornell University Press, 2005), The Engine of Visualization (Cornell University Press, 1997), and other works.

Here is an excerpt from his conversation with Dmitry Borshch, a contributor to the twelfth issue of Superstition Review:

PM: To set some questions, may I begin by congratulating you on your work: that is, you have found a successful way of working. I think what we mean by “self-expression,” a term closely related to art, is one’s own way of making things which can somehow deal with unlimited ranges of life experience. That provides a basic freedom, one we associate with composers, poets, novelists. It is good to see it in drawing these days where you seem to have found a distinctive style.

Wildbirds Among Branches
Wildbirds Among Branches

DB: About finding one’s way… Many children are fearless drawers but they encounter professional illustrators in children’s books, become intimidated, and abandon drawing. I remember this intimidation; it drew me to writing and acting as a substitute for those illustrations – I was a teenage writer and tweenage actor. Frustrated with not being able to publish my writings, in English or Russian, I resumed drawing at twenty-seven. About four years later my first independent styles emerged – a drawing style first, then a sculpting one. They were both abstract, as I mentioned before, and influenced by Russian Constructivism, De Stijl, and Soviet Nonconformists. I was able to develop a style in two photographic series that followed those abstractions. Then another graphic series, closer to representational way of depicting but still abstract. While not monochromatic, its palette was restricted to three (a primary and two non-primary) colors. Maybe in 2006 I finally reached my current blue-ink style: “Will it contain you, this house I have built?” and “Wildbirds Among Branches” were the first to be drawn in it. So I moved from pure abstraction to balancing between the abstract and figurative, representational. For what period this balance will continue is unclear but in 20 years I may abandon figuration and return to geometric designs I started with.

PM: In contrast with traditional artists just mentioned, contemporary visual artists rarely work from direct assignments which provide specific context (and sustenance): jobs to do. Also they exist in an extremely heterogeneous sea of visual forms, including much marketing – the like of which had never been encountered – a daunting situation. Do you have advice for young artists, notably those who draw, regarding their finding their own ways, as you have done?

DB: The first advice to an artist who draws is to clarify his relationship to drawing: is he using it to record, visualize ideas that may later be translated into painting – as many painters do – or is he primarily a draftsman, someone for whom drawing is a “terminal” activity, no progress beyond which is anticipated? The second and final advice is to strive for coherence of his drawings’ message, style, geometry, lines’ phrasing, interaction among lines. That will enhance their presence: if a drawing is coherently drawn, it becomes present and available to the viewer for extended contemplation, but not yet as an artwork unless coherent matter is united with poetry. So, to younger and older artists, draftsmen or not, I wish many a contemplative viewer – who will be gained only if he perceives aesthetic, intellectual, sentimental or some other value in their drawing.

 

More of Dmitry’s drawings can be found here.

Dispatches from Delhi: Report 8

Two nights ago, my grandmother asked me if I wanted to accompany her to Jabalpur, a city in the Madhya Pradesh region of India, to receive blessings from and pay respects to her guru on his birthday. Coincidentally, this event just happens to occur under the next full moon in one of India’s most culturally significant cities. In fact, Jabalpur’s colloquial name is Sanskaardhani or “culture capital” because it was once home to the Kalchuri and Gond dynasties and developed a syncretic culture as a result of the intermittent influence of the Marathi and Mughal empires, combining Hindu, Muslim, and Jain cultures and influences into one singular area. Due to this differential cultural mix of religious faiths coupled with the region’s dominant dependence on rural agriculture, Jabalpur remains largely unchanged in its spiritual significance to the Indian community at large. It is home to a large community of holy men, women, and orphanages of abandoned children all either well versed in or currently learning the various aspects of Vedic literature.

When she told me all this, my grandmother and I got into a discussion about faith versus reason, her obviously discussing the former, and me in my 20-year-old naivety pushing the latter. The whole argument actually started because after pushing all this history aside, the question kept nagging at my mind: why did she need a guru in the first place? I am not at all denying the experience that it would provide me with and it would be an unforgettable part of my growth at this point in life. But at 75 years old, she has already achieved a sufficient amount of financial success and emotional fulfillment in her life without ever seeking the guidance of a spiritual teacher.

So what had changed in the past few years to facilitate this change?

She said that nothing had changed, that things were the same. I said something had to be different. She said no and said that as she got older, she realized that the events in her life, however driven by human factors like her father and husband and children, still answered to the divine intervention of an ultimate superpower; call it God, Bhagavan, whatever. I asked if she really believed her own power of thinking and choices and environmental situations had not achieved the changes that created her present. She said no, that destiny had ultimately chosen her path for her, and no matter what she might have done to deter from or adhere to that path, it was all preordained by this ultimate superpower. As such, she felt the urge to find a guru who could use his knowledge of Hindu canonical texts like the Vedas and Mahabharata to provide her with insight on how to continue living well through the most ancient codices of the world’s oldest living faith.

I was more or less confused because my grandmother was applying reason to faith in a way that they did not necessarily contradict each other. She was not saying that her thoughts and actions had no bearing whatsoever on her life, but that there was a guiding hand behind each and every one of those thoughts and actions that had laid out a plan for her, a plan that stood as a simultaneous consequence and refutation of her conscious decisions. I am looking forward to this trip because I am not an incredibly spiritual person in the textbook sense of the word, but I want to understand my culture as it is: faith AND reason, spirituality and philosophy, a way of thinking and a way of life. I am still a little “iffy” about the whole thing, but I am not one to be so close-minded to such a grand new experience.

Dispatches from Delhi: Report 3

Today, I finished reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, a book that tries to ascertain the various external factors that help facilitate the possibility of great success. The book as a whole was good, but I found it particularly interesting that in one chapter, the author characterizes American education as a system that places great importance on the separation of work and play, citing the widespread cultural attitude that too much mental stimulation can lead to stagnation and actual digression. Now, on the surface, this seems like a sensible idea to vibe with. You know, the whole “all work and no play” philosophy.

However, what exactly constitutes “play”?

In the U.S., when I think about a playground, several common images immediately come to mind: merry-go-round, swings, jungle gyms, those weird steel bubbles kids used to hang on upside-down and do flips off of. These things come to mind because in America, playgrounds are meant as a welcome reprieve from the intellectual workload of school through exhaustive physical fun in the forms of monkey bars and slides; a place that symbolizes the American separation of learning and recreation with very clear-cut boundaries. Now, I’m definitely a byproduct of the American public education system in that I’ve learned the affiliation of the rooms with the desks and books and lessons as the workplace, which leaves everything outside those walls as a means to escape from that work and do what kids are supposed to do: play. Not to say that I wasn’t intellectually stimulated through class field trips to see things like the science museum or theatrical productions, but even those were far removed from the classroom, solidifying the idea that play is basically anything that’s not school, work or learning. I am not saying this is the only way to look at it, but it is something I happen to find true.

However, does that same definition apply in India?

Today, I visited the school where I am going to start teaching in a week. It was not the first time I went there, but it is definitely the first time I went there thinking about this particular question. Now, kids of all age groups in India grow up playing a lot like kids in America, but they just subtract all the playground equipment and due to monetary constraints, place twice the emphasis on organized sports. Since birth, most children are raised on soccer and cricket, two popular “world” sports, as opposed to Americanized sports like baseball, basketball, and football. However, like their American counterparts, they use the games to alleviate the stress of working in the classroom.

At least that is what I thought until I saw something extraordinary.

Since the two most popular sports played at this K-12 school are mostly aggressive contact sports, the bigger, older kids take up the available space to play them. So where do the younger kids go? What exactly do kids from 5-10 years old do while the bigger kids are all out in the front of the school on the basketball and soccer courts (both concrete, since I don’t think there’s a school in India can afford a grass pitch)? In the very back of the school’s Primary Wing, there is a small elevated area with the surface area of a small apartment. In it, there are no jungle gyms or monkey bars, no slides or bubbles; instead, it has interactive displays like those found in a science museum—each with a sign explaining how to use it and what to learn from it. The displays include:

  • A life-size model of DNA
  • A working model of a lifting screw
  • A pair of parabolic dishes (pictured)
  • A miniature hydroelectric power plant
  • And a 3-part model of inclined planes

Now, this might not be the most aesthetically pleasing recreational area to someone who grew up with the decency of American parks and playgrounds. Nor does it in any way work with the American definition of “play,” which itself says a lot about the Indian connection between work and play. This small pitch of land is a statement that schools can intentionally blur the line between learning and recreation to reduce students’ aversion to critical thinking by integrating learning into their play. I am not saying that playgrounds like this are a widespread phenomenon, and I am certainly not saying that all the children take advantage of this particular area, but the whole idea of this integration definitely suggests a very different paradigm for the Indian connection between school and play, learning and recreation. Specifically, that there is no connection; they are the same thing. To generalize, in the Western world, life exists in a compartmentalized fashion. However, in India and other Eastern cultures, life is promoted as holistically as possible.

I guess it is a lot harder for kids to develop aversions to learning when presented with opportunities like this for recess.

Meet The Interns: Kimberly Singleton

Kimberly Singleton is in her junior year at ASU as well as a student of Barrett, the Honors College at ASU’s West campus. After completing her undergraduate studies in English and Public Relations, Kimberly would like to attend graduate school for an interdisciplinary emphasis in English studies, encompassing Philosophy, Rhetoric, and Literature. This past June, Kimberly had an opportunity to present a paper that exemplified her interests in this interdisciplinary approach at Duquesne University’s Communication Ethics Conference. Kimberly currently tutors at the ASU West Writing Center and is the assistant to the editor for an academic book series through Purdue Press. This is the second issue of Superstition Review that Kimberly has had the privilege to work on.

Superstition Review: What is your position with Superstition Review and what are your responsibilities?

Kimberly Singleton: As one of the Interview Editors for Superstition Review, my main responsibility is to craft at least five interviews with distinguished or emerging authors. First, I am responsible for contacting authors for a potential interview. If they agree to an interview, I research their work and create questions based on my results. The questions are then sent to the author for their responses.

SR: Why did you decide to get involved with Superstition Review?

KS: Superstition Review has allowed me the opportunity to experience a career in publishing as a young, emerging professional. By becoming involved with the magazine, I am able to see if this career is one I would pursue after graduation. Furthermore, an internship with such a notable magazine helps me to mature in my understanding of professionalism, integrity, dedication, and time management in the workplace.

SR: Besides interning for Superstition Review, how do you spend your time?

KS: The majority of my time is devoted to my other courses at ASU. I am also a tutor at ASU’s West campus Writing Center and the president of a student organization at the West campus. Both of these positions and the internship keep me very occupied during the week and even on the weekends. When I’m not busy with school-related activities, I enjoy salsa dancing and drinking coffee with my mom.

SR: What other position(s) for Superstition Review would you like to try out?

KS: Although I have not received formal training in art history, design, or creation, I enjoy experiencing various pieces of art and would enjoy trying out the Art Editor position. My understanding of artwork has come from conversations with other artists, exploring art venues, and my vast interest in aesthetic theory.

SR: Describe one of your favorite literary works.

KS: One of my favorite literary works is E.M. Forster’s delightful book, A Room with a View. Although I have read it countless times, each reading brings additional discoveries from the text. It is a rich piece of literature with multiple layers of meaning and symbolism that concern aestheticism, philosophy, gender politics, and social values.

SR: What are you currently reading?

KS: I am currently reading Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time for one of my courses. It is a dense philosophic piece that takes the entire history of Western Philosophy into question by challenging Cartesian ethics and instead maintaining our “Being-in-the-World” as the fundamental point for human knowledge.

SR: Creatively, what are you currently working on?

KS: Right now I am preparing to begin my thesis for Barrett, the Honors College which will serve as my writing sample when applying for graduate programs next fall.

SR: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

KS: In 10 years I hope to be finished with my PhD and working in some capacity with a university whether it’s teaching, public relations, or publishing.

Meet the Interns: Mike Tomzik, Web Designer

Mike Tomzik is a Creative Writing major.

Superstition Review: What is your position with Superstition Review and what are your responsibilities?

Mike Tomzik: I am a Web Designer for Superstition Review. Being that the Review is an online literary publication, I design and form an orderly layout of the professional work featured within the magazine.

SR: How did you hear about Superstition Review and what made you decide to get involved?

MT: I tend to sporadically search for online publications and journals that could possibly feature my work, and as I was going through the Arizona State website I came across Superstition Review. The name was familiar to me and the internship appealed to my interests. I’ve been looking to get involved with a literary publication for some time and the dynamics of the Review seemed like something that would be conducive to my progression as not only a writer and editor, but as a person interested in working in the writing world.

SR: What are you hoping to take away from your Superstition Review experience?

MT: I want to get an inside look at how a magazine operates, and I would like to learn the techniques that will allow me to successfully publish and edit professional work in the future.

SR: Describe one of your favorite literary or artistic works.

MT: In terms of literary fiction, my favorite writer is John Steinbeck. My favorite book by him is East of Eden, which–logically–is my favorite book. I tend to like novels that have a sense of the epic, and East of Eden is an epic look at multiple generations of a family. The themes involving good and evil are themes that I recognize as being an integral part of Steinbeck’s writing and are important factors in my own writing. I think that life is composed of literary characters and Steinbeck really captured wholesome, human people in this novel.

One of my favorite American poems is Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself. I love the unconventional vision created from his mind and spirit, and I believe that much of what he wrote in his lifetime masterpiece is considered unconventional because it is the naked truth. People are afraid of bare absolutes and Whitman does a good job at exposing these spiritual necessities.

SR: What are you currently reading?

MT: I am currently reading A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.

SR: What other position(s) for Superstition Review would you like to try out?

MT: I would definitely like to try out editing. In regards to my own personal writing, editing is the hardest part for me. I enjoy the initial composition of a piece but it is very difficult for me to rearrange what I have so carefully composed. I need work on it, and I think that both poetry and fiction editing would strengthen not only my editing abilities but sharpen my writing and reading skills as well.

SR: Do you prefer reading literary magazines online or in print?

MT: I prefer to read everything in print. Reading on the computer is a very different experience. After a while my eyes become out of focus and my world dizzies to the point of paranoia. Books were written for the tangible page. The physical book is an essential part of the art of writing. The cover, the pages, the font, the pictures, the smell, the texture; all these factors give the actual book character and meaning. To open a book is to enter a world, and that book in your hand is the vehicle that transports you there. To see the author’s words on the page is to feel his or her mind thinking. Reading words on the computer is not only a modern practice that exempts the art of book-binding and selling, but is very capable of driving me mad. For me, minimal technology in art is the best. The mind is all we need.

SR: Do you write or create art? What are you currently working on?

MT: I like to think that I write like a feverish young Hemingway with a dedication to the art similar to that of Norman Mailer. I tell people that I have lived before as the great Leo Tolstoy due to our similar vision of human nature and writing style, but in reality I write minimally and sporadically. I am pleased with what I write and have written a few good works catalogued in my own personal repertoire. I am satisfied with one of my short stories, an epic poem I wrote for class, and a short screenplay that I have written. My desk is filled with pages of philosophical ramble, short beginnings to works I once deemed masterpieces, song lyrics, movie ideas, dialogues, and clips of my mind that I was lucky enough to find a pen to record. I figure that I should record as much of my mind as I can while I still have it. I love writing love poetry.

Besides writing, I am a musician. I’ve been blessed with the soul of music and it is up to me what I will do with it and how far I will evolve it. Right now, in the twenty second year of my existence, I figure that it would be foolish not to use the strings that I have been given, and I see music as the medium that most effectively expresses my love and happiness. I’ve noticed that life functions off the former to produce the latter, so this avenue seems to be my true path to enlightenment.

But that is a bold claim that I as a human shouldn’t have the authority to utter, though I still do. This is not to say my writing is not important or that it will not be involved in my professional life. Music is writing and writing is music. Hell, outside is inside and the sky is part of the grass. Everything is everything and it all connects and truthfully, in my moments of true artistic desire and longing to express that which I carry within, I want to completely represent myself by any and all means possible, whether it is with a pen, a guitar, a brush, or a smile.

SR: Besides interning for Superstition Review, how do you spend your time?

MT: I honestly spend my time quite prodigally and extravagantly. I’m sporadic and random. I start many things and finish about half of them. I’m interested in nearly everything. I want to grow exponentially but my tendency to dawdle is detrimental. I read and write and sing and dance and drink and eat and talk and listen and laugh and smoke mostly.

SR: What is your favorite mode of relaxation?

MT: I like to meditate. I climb atop my roof and look out over the dusk. I enjoy swimming and golfing and riding my bicycle. I like to play Frisbee with my friends. I enjoy lighting candles and I enjoy planting vegetables and flowers. I love playing the guitar and listening to music. I hate to say it but I do sit on the couch a lot and that is pretty relaxing. Sleeping is amazing. Eating good food is essential.

SR: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

MT: On a plane with many devices on hand.