Calves

I stood next to my husband

in sequins and glitter,

Rainbow,

Mostly red hot pants glittering

phthalo green,

cadmium yellow,

cerulean blue hues I never wear as skin

unless LED lights are glittering in front of me too.

My calves flex like rocks

glowing rose quartz against sandstone

 that bounces sound back

between my chest plate and my spine

and back to my calves that carry me long into the air—

twirl me atop rock sheets,

spin me like a hula hoop and release,

 relief.

Interview: Jeremy Gaulke

What is your favorite creative medium?

I like illustration a lot at the moment but passions have waxed and waned over the years. I try to indulge as many forms of creative expression as possible.

What do you love about that medium ?

There are limits to language and I think that I try to fill in the gaps in my personal work with drawings. I think there are certain things that must be seen all at once. I love visual art for that reason.

What do you mean that you think that there are limits to language? Do you think visual art is always so holistic?

Language is absurdly limited.  A finite catalogue of sounds strung together and constrained by the intellect and experience of the person writing or speaking.  To me that’s why its so impressive when a writer creates something gorgeous and emotive or says something in a way that no one else can say.  I’ve always thought of visual art as the closest humans get to telepathy.  A slice of experience that can be instantly devoured without a thought or explored and savored indefinitely.  Not that I don’t adore language and writing.  I just have always felt more fully expressed with visual art. 

How do you begin your creative process?

My process is typically chaotic and random. I don’t really have any discipline to speak of. I never liked writing exercises or prompts or the idea of forcing myself to write or draw. My art and writing is usually impulsive and frenzied. There are elements that I can organize and have a more regimented approach to, like bookmaking and layout stuff but the raw creative expression has always come and gone like the rain.

Where is your favorite place to create and why?

In bed I think. I don’t do well at desks but love spending the day in bed drawing or writing.

Is there any music that you listen to while you create?

I listen to a lot of different things, usually cacophonous stuff.  Currently its mostly Albert Ayler and Old Time Relijun. 

What piece of literature (i.e. CNF, poetry, short story, novel, collection, etc.) set you on fire most recently and why?

I recently started re-reading William Burroughs’ Cities of the Red Night Trilogy, which is an old love but I am set ablaze everyday by new things. A big part of why I love publishing so much is the proximity it gives me to new and exciting writing.

What about Burroughs’s writing gets to you?

Burroughs was one of the first Beats I read and to me much more interesting than any of his contemporaries.  I started with Naked Lunch.  His grotesque allegory and embrace of the bizarre and occult fascinated me.  It was everything that I adored about early American horror stories under this explicit, homoerotic lens.  He had a voice I had never heard before, created worlds I’d never dared imagine and a cast of characters that were amoral and unforgettable.  In many ways he gave me permission to explore the more perverse and bizarre elements of my own art and writing.   It was also the darkest expression of drug culture that I’d read and seemed more authentic than the now cliche chronicles of free love counter culture and chemical mind expansion.  The darkest side of that coin really.  He’s certainly not for everyone but Burroughs is a foundational influence for me.   

What literature or art magazines get you excited and why?

This is an area that I am woefully underexposed. I haven’t read a new quarterly or art magazine in a very long time.

Where is one place that every person who considers themselves a “creative type” needs to travel to and why?

I don’t think there is a Mecca for creatives. There are so many sacred places. Both collectively and individually sacred places and rituals. One could get just as much of a jolt pissing on Ginsberg’s grave as going to the grocery store and staring at a display of cottage cheese. Its completely the prerogative of the individual. Always remember the recluse and her temple.

What advice would you give to your younger self about the creative process?

To not be so serious and resist the urge to publish so young.

What are you currently working on?

Currently APEP has a full roster. In so far as poetry goes our current release is Tianna Hansen’s Undone, Still Whole. After that there are a few more projects in the works, Jane Marshall Fleming’s Ocotillo Worship and an yet unnamed project by a poet named Maria. Also, a little further down the line a collection by Mela Blust, Dan Tauber, and Erin Emily Ann Vance. There are a few more things in the works that I’m not quite sure about yet but we are doing as much as possible this year. Personally, I’m perpetually chipping away at one visual abhorrence or another. Nothing quite ready for the world yet though. 

Review: Morning Walk With a Dead Possum

“You remind me that this is the way of things,

that heartbeats are not beautiful, a carnivore kind of organ that can

kill you or keep you alive”

— Beth Gordon, “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning”

Morning Walk with a dead possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe

Animal Heart Press, $12

When Beth Gordon tells you in the first poem of her debut chapbook, Morning Walk With a Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe, that she is “inventing a new language,” she means it. Gordon’s poetry is what I love to read because it uses the kind of language that makes you sweat; the kind of language that makes your breath get caught up in your throat and forces you to ask whether you’ve been using words wrong the whole time.

Gordon’s collection passes between prose-poetry and verse, always keeping the reader on their toes. She challenges you to keep up as she breaks into lists, like in “While You Are in Iceland” or more familiar forms of free verse. Gordon is not simply inventing her own language, she is pushing the boundaries of form. She is a razor-sharp observer of both news reels and life before her and she makes sure that it is soaked into her poetry.

By the time I reached her last poem, “Dancing Barefoot in Mississippi,” I certainly felt as though I was dancing with her. I recommend Gordon’s chap to anyone who loves poetry that you can feel squeak between your teeth.

Interview: Beth Gordon

Beth Gordon is a poet, mother and grandmother, currently landlocked in St. Louis, MO. Her poems have been published in numerous journals including Into the Void, Noble/Gas, Five:2:One, SWWIM, Verity La, Califragile, Pretty Owl Poetry and Yes Poetry. She is also the Poetry Editor of Gone Lawn

What is your favorite creative medium?

Poetry

What do you love about that medium (i.e. why do you create that way)?

I’ve been drawn to poetry since I was a child. I love being able to create whole emotional landscapes in a relatively compact form.

How do you begin your creative process? For instance, if you are a writer, how do you get into a writing session?

I have both a formal and informal process. The formal process is writing with my friend/fellow writer almost every Friday night. My informal process is that I’m almost always tuned into things I hear, see, read, experience and I take notes on paper, cell phone, computer, backs of receipts … and save those ideas for later. I tend to see my poems as puzzles. I have gathered the pieces and I know these random ideas and images are connected, I just have to figure it out and convince the reader of that larger connection.

Do you have a particular place where you collect these images? Like your phone or a notebook? Or do you just keep them in your head?  

I collect my ideas on my phone and computer, mostly.  I then have to be disciplined to return to those ideas and see what I can create from them.  

Also, what kind of images have you been finding more generative recently? Particularly for your most recent chapbooks? 

So it might be easier to give you an example because the variety of things that “spark” an idea from me range from something I see in my neighborhood (dead possum) to a headline I read to a movie I’m watching to a conversation.  A great example in my new chapbook is the poem, “During the Battle of Gettysburg the Union Band Played Polkas”.  The title of the poem was actually something I heard when watching a documentary about the Civil War.  And I had recently read the book, Endurance, about Shackleton’s expedition to the South Pole…and there was this banjo that the men carried with them through this entire arduous journey in which they had to repeatedly leave things behind.  But they never left the banjo behind.  I started thinking about that juxtaposition between violence and music, or tragedy and music.  I chewed on that idea for a long time and after my grandson was born I kept thinking how I don’t want him to be a violent man, I want him to care more about music than war, and so I took all these ideas and snippets and put the puzzle together.

Where is your favorite place to write?

At my friend’s kitchen table in Highland, IL which we have dubbed the “magic kitchen table” because we have written so much poetry there. I think it’s Pavlovian at this point. I can be struggling all week to write, but when I sit down at that table…the “magic” begins.

It’s really interesting to me that you primarily write around others. Do you find that your writing is collaborative by nature? What is the biggest benefit you get from working around others?

I also find it interesting that I mostly write with another person.  That’s not something I was doing five years ago.  I thought of writing as a solitary activity.  When I started writing with my friend, JD, it was usually because we had a writing assignment for a writer’s guild that we are both members of.  The meetings are Saturday mornings so we would get together on Friday night to work on that assignment.  Then we started sharing other poems we were writing with each other.  We do not collaborate, i.e. we have not co-authored anything, but we often write about the same topic.  What we’ve learned is that it is SO important to read your poetry out loud. It’s now part of my editing process.  I hear things when I read the poem to another person that I would not hear just reading it in my head.   Also, when one of us is not feeling very motivated, we will challenge each other.  The closest comparison I can make is that we are like a garage band.  We get together every Friday night and practice.  And after five years, the practice has paid off.  Our writing is better (I hope) and we are both getting published frequently.  

What is your favorite music to create to and why?

Too many to name.  Sorry this was such a boring answer. I listen to rock, pop, Americana and some country from the 1960’s through today.  No surprise that I like lyrically driven songs.  

What piece of literature (i.e. CNF, poetry, short story, novel, collection, etc.) set you on fire most recently and why?

I heard Alicia Mountain read at AWP in Portland. Her book, High Ground Coward, is amazing. I’m also loving The Mobius Strip Club of Grief by Bianca Stone.

What literature or art magazines get you excited and why?

I don’t think I can do justice to all the wonderful literature journals that are out there. Returning to the poetry community after 15 years has been an amazing experience. I love the variety, diversity and inclusiveness.

Where is one place that every person who considers themselves a “creative type” needs to travel to and why?

I don’t think I can choose one place that would apply to every creative type. Instead I will say that it is so important to get out of your daily routine and environment. Not everyone has the means to travel, so even if it’s just going for a walk to a local park or going to a landmark in your city/town that you’ve never visited.

What advice would you give to your younger self about the creative process?

My advice to my younger self is very simple: Don’t stop writing! And also, read more poetry!

What are you currently working on?

My first chapbook, Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast and Parallel Universe was released on May 1st by Animal Heart Press. I also have a chapbook coming out later this year titled Particularly Dangerous Situation. It is being published by Clare Songbird Publishing House.

Where can we get updates about your newest projects (i.e. do you have a blog/website/twitter?)

I’m on Twitter.  @bethgordonpoet

Thigh by Kristin Garth

Thigh*

They lie to you, at twelve, about the thigh —

that what men see, above a knee, will be invitation, impossibly denied.

Their closure, your responsibility,

neglected means you are unprotected,

an opening to be inspected, slut

to shut out — having been inside. Suspect

a miniskirt rebellion when you cut

with razorblade a region much too high

and try to hide it, Bandaid within half

an hour spied, eyes that make you want to die,

with truths you knew at five, your epitaph —

this problem never was your breasts or thighs.

The problem was a father’s heartless eyes.

*Author’s note:

Kristin Garth is a womanchild sonneteer who was taught by abusers that it was a woman’s responsibility to not be a temptation.  She rejects this paradigm and stripped for a living for five years and posts pictures of her sinful thighs and legs on the Internet.  It’s not her responsibility to not provoke.  It is the responsibility of the viewer to handle themselves in an ethical manner.

Author Bio

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Best of the Net & Rhysling nominated sonnet stalker.  Her poetry has stalked magazines like Glass, Yes, Five:2: One, Former Cactus, Occulum & many more.  She has six chapbooks including Shakespeare for Sociopaths (Hedgehog Poetry Press), Pink Plastic House (Maverick Duck Press), Puritan U (Rhythm & Bones Press March 2019) and The Legend of the Were Mer (Thirty West Publishing House March 2019). Her full length, Candy Cigarette Womanchild Noir is forthcoming April 2019 (The Hedgehog Poetry Press), and she has a fantasy collaborative full length A Victorian Dollhousing Ceremony forthcoming in June (Rhythm & Bones Lit) and Flutter (TwistiT Press) in January 2020.  Follow her on Twitter:  (@lolaandjolie), and her website kristingarth.com

Ekphrastic Challenge: K Dulai

You know, in the beginning there was woman and she made stones

from sand. And taking water

for bone, sculpted more of herself, the gift of life emerging tenderly from her sinewy hands


There has been talk of fire, but with her face and her

face and her face once more there was the sky,

its tides the refractions of an empyrean sea

Her last gift the moon, carved from the arches of her feet,  

forever perambulates by our side

Bio: K Dulai lives in the Bay Area.  Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pretty Owl Poetry, The Eastern Iowa Review, and Marias at Sampaguitas.  She is a current resident of the Pink Plastic House Online Residency.

Run

My mother told me that as soon as my brother and I could run, we were headed for the street. We’d toddle on our little feet out the front door and towards roads that sounded like rushing ocean waves. Or at least, I would, my mother sprinting behind me with one eye towards my brother who was just headed for the play

                                                Ground.

And my feet have always grounded me, pulling me closer to the earth, closer without shoes or soles or souls to see or feel

                        Or hear.

Here is the way I abuse my feet when I run. I tear them to red ribbons, dripping

                        Down into the earth so neat,

                        So green or

Deep umber,

            Maybe ochre,

                        Maybe blue hues from pansies grown in my grandmother’s garden,

My mother’s garden held hasta and lavender and things you shouldn’t eat,

            But that I could certainly run through.

My feet are careful stewards of my calves and shins, thighs and knees. They rest behind my husband’s thumbs and carefully cry to me in my sleep. They pad behind padded paws, held taught on cloth leashes.

            They curl and extend underneath me.

            When I was little I used to run

                        Into the street

                                    And my mother ran after me.

Interview: Charlotte Hamrick

This week, I got to speak with Charlotte Hamrick about emotion in the creative process, her love of poetry, and more! Charlotte Hamrick’s poetry, prose, and photography has been published in The Rumpus, Literary Orphans, Connotation Press, Eunoia Review, and numerous other journals. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and was a Finalist for the 15th Glass Woman Prize for her Creative Non-Fiction. Currently, she serves as the Creative Nonfiction Editor for Barren Magazine. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets.

What is your favorite creative medium?

Poetry

What do you love about poetry?

It just comes naturally. It’s the form my daydreaming, anxiety, or rage takes when I write. I love free form poetry because the only “rules” are ones you impose on yourself. It’s truly the most liberating and creative process for me.

Are there any themes or emotions that you find yourself consistently returning to in your work?

I write a lot about my relationships with people I love or people who have made an imprint on my life. I think that’s why I also write and love Creative Nonfiction. I think a lot about my life and experiences, what I’ve done wrong and why, what I’ve done right. What I hope to do. 
I like writing about the natural world and how it’s often a kind of medicine when I’m soul-sick or just tired of living in a frenzied world. On my blog I’ve written a series off and on for years called “Morning Meditation” that focuses on the natural world. Maybe one day I’ll put together a chapbook. 

How do you begin your creative process?

I rarely have deliberate writing sessions. When inspiration hits I write. When I’m pissed off I write. When a phrase or idea comes to me I write it down and I’ll visit this list when I’m composing a poem. Sometimes something will happen, sometimes not. I never force it since I realized that doesn’t work for me. So I guess my process is haphazard and spontaneous.

Where is your favorite place to create and why?

In my bedroom on my bed because I’m surrounded by my favorite things, the bed is comfy, and it’s quiet.

What is your favorite music to create to and why?

I rarely have music on because I find it distracting. When I listen to music I really listen, so it takes my mind away from the writing.

What piece of literature (i.e. CNF, poetry, short story, novel, collection, etc.) set you on fire most recently and why?

Jericho Brown’s The New Testament (Copper Canyon Press, 2015) because it has such honesty, fire, and grace. Because it taught me so much about opening up in your writing and that’s something I need to do more. Because he’s a Southern writer and I love the Southern references and nuances. Finally, because he’s a human being unafraid of showing his human-ness.

I know you recently interviewed Jericho Brown for Barren Magazine. What was the most important thing that you learned from that experience?

That sometimes you get a “yes” when you least expect it. Sometimes we assume that people with his level of recognition won’t be receptive if you reach out. I fully expected not to hear back from him but I was wrong. Jericho was very open and giving, making me admire him more. And, of course, I loved hearing his take on poetry.  

What literature or art magazines get you excited and why?

Well, of course I’m going to say Barren Magazine, lol. Because Barren has opened a new facet of literature and writing for me. I love reading the diverse writers who send their babies to us and I love working with the writers. Other zines I read most regularly are SWWIM, Foliate Oak, Bitter Southerner, The Oxford American, Milk Candy Review, Literary Orphans, Pidgeonholes because they always have stellar writing.

Where is one place that every person who considers themselves a “creative type” needs to travel to and why?

New Orleans because it’s one of the world’s most unique cities with a diversity of people, ideas, cultures, and creativity. It steps to its own beat.

Is there any nook in New Orleans that you would recommend to fellow writers in particular?

Well, it’s not exactly a nook but I’d recommend coming to The Tennessee Williams Literary Festival which is actually happening right now. It’s so interesting with readings, panels, history walks, plays, music, and a Stella and Stanley Shouting Contest on the last day. So many cool things to see and do. You can learn about it at TennesseeWilliams.net. 

What advice would you give to your younger self about the creative process?

Don’t place expectations on yourself. Just let your creativity flow naturally.

What are you currently working on? This is a space for you to brag a little– what are your most recent pubs, etc.

I’m looking forward to NaPoWriMo in which I participate every year. It’s a great way to practice and connect with other poets, and it gives me a little structure. I write on my WordPress blog and I most often use the prompts from napowrimo.net. Besides that, right now I’m looking through my work, editing existing poems. My most recent poems can be found in Burning House Press, Nine Muses Poetry, and Nightingale and Sparrow. I have poetry coming soon in Foliate Oak, Muddy River Poetry Review, and MORIA.

What is your blog URL? 

https://zouxzoux.wordpress.com/

Review: Candy Cigarette

16 is sacrifice. Serpents seek skin. Sequestration a season, and then they begin — reptilian gazes, demon enchantment, sheepskin, diabolists who crave consumption within. You are an entrance. Composition is doors, all orifices, indefensible pores.

– From “An Entrance is Not an Exit”

In her latest full-length collection, Candy Cigarette: Womanchild Noir (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2019)poet Kristin Garth offers an intimate, raw look into her former life as a stripper in the deep south. Following her recent, heart-wrenching collection, Puritan U (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019), Candy Cigarette navigates the ups and downs of finding power in life during and after trauma.

Garth doesn’t just play with the Madonna/Whore dynamic, she obliterates it. Her speaker is simultaneously 16 and 25, victim and victor. She harnesses power through the commodification of her body, even as she acknowledges the self-effacement that can happen when one becomes a product for consumption.

Candy Cigarette is exactly like the title suggests: darkly sweet, richly important, and doused in the smell of old bourbon, jolly ranchers, and cigarette smoke.

Candy Cigarette is available for regular pre-order here.

Interview: Jason Stoneking

This week, I got to do both an audio and written interview with Jason Stoneking. He had some incredible thoughts about the creative process and pressures around the publishing industry. Jason is a writer and performing artist. He has published 2 volumes of poetry and four collections of essays, and performed in various ways for more than 25 years. Currently, Jason is working on a conceptual writing project in which he writes entire individual books for people by hand. You can listen to our conversation or read the initial interview below.

What is your favorite creative medium?

Poetry / Epistolary / Journaling

What do you love about those media?

I’m attracted to ideas that don’t easily fit within the traditional structures of fiction or nonfiction. And I’m interested in the intimacy and authenticity of capturing thoughts at an early stage in their development and sharing them with the reader before they’re more formulated.

How do you begin your creative process? For instance, if you are a writer, how do you get into a writing session?

My favorite headspace to write from is the one just emerging from sleep. I like to wake up early and alone, and let my dreamstate linger in the morning silence, where it can influence my writing before I start taking in too much outside input and sliding back into my day-to-day conscious thoughts. If I have to start later in the day, I begin by just clearing some mental space. I turn off all devices, and maybe take a long shower, or a walk, or a nap, to let my mind wander into its own territory before I pick up the pen.

Where is your favorite place to create and why?

I can write almost anywhere, as long as I don’t have any direct distractions. But I suppose my favorite places are in transit. I love to write in airports, in bus stations, on trains. In those transient, non-spaces between defined realities.

What is your favorite music to create to and why?

I often write in total silence. But depending on what I’m writing, I can sometimes work with classical, jazz, or psychedelic rock. The most important thing is that it can’t have lyrics. I can’t write while I’m listening to someone else’s words.

What piece of literature (i.e. CNF, poetry, short story, novel, collection, etc.) set you on fire most recently and why?

I recently spent a few months reading everything I could find by Clarice Lispector. She had the most invigorating way of diving into any depth, or exploding into any kind of conceptual space, without ever being constrained by preconceptions of genre or by self-consciousness. Discovering her work has been extremely liberating for me.

What literature or art magazines get you excited and why?

There’s so much out there now that it can be a bit overwhelming. I mostly try to support local publications that feature people from my community, because I think that’s important. Paris Lit Up is one that consistently features a good blend of established and emerging writers and artists with connections to Paris.

Where is one place that every person who considers themselves a “creative type” needs to travel to and why?

Wherever is farthest away from their own comfort zone and the things that they’re used to taking for granted. Creativity isn’t helped by confirming the same ideas over and over. To see further, we need to have our assumptions rocked, and our perspectives widened as much as possible. This could mean traveling to the other side of the world, or just to the living room of someone on your street that you can’t imagine talking to.

What advice would you give to your younger self about the creative process?

To never hesitate out of fear, or worry about public reaction. To write everything I was curious about writing. To give less attention to the opinions of my peers, and more attention to my relationship with the eternal.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a project I call Bespoke Books, in which I write entire unique books, by hand, in a single draft, for individual recipients. Each person who commissions a book receives the only copy of a text written specifically for them, along with the rights to share it or keep it private, as they wish. It’s like a cross between a journal and a letter. A long, intimate text addressed to a specific person and written by hand. It’s a lot of work, but I’m inspired by the intimacy of the exchange, as well as the heightened stakes of creating a singular object.

Interview: Andrea Lambert

Andrea Lambert was kind enough to answer a few questions about creative process as part of the Luna Speaks Interview Series.
Andrea Lambert is the author of Jet Set Desolate, Lorazepam & the Valley of Skin: Extrapolations on Los Angeles, and the chapbooks G(u)ilt and Lexapro Diary. Their writing has appeared in Luna Luna, OCCULUM, Grimoire and elsewhere. More information can be found on their website, andreaklambert.com.

What is your favorite creative medium?

I alternate working in multiple mediums: Novels. Plays. Creative non fiction. Flash fiction. Poetry. Mixed media oil painting. YouTube videos. Collage. My creative non fiction is most widely published, thus what I have am focusing on for now. I still write unpublished novel manuscripts for my own therapeutic amusement. There are terms in my will for them to be published after my death. Alternately, if anyone want to hack my iCloud and sell my unpublished works on the dark web, I would be honored. That’s some cult classic clout. Take this as an invitation, tech bros. As I can’t be paid, I would still like to be read.

What do you love about that medium (i.e. why do you create that way)?

What I love about creative nonfiction is the sheer brutal honesty. My life credo. Unavoidable tendency. I cannot tell a lie. All my work is based on reality. A mentally ill, unreliable narrator reality. In my occult writing: Luna Luna Magazine and Grimoire. The anthologies: Impact and Haunting Muses. I synthesize my Wicca practice and the tendencies of the voices in my head to present as ancestral or deceased domestic partner’s ghosts into paranormal creative nonfiction. My reality, my truth, is not as others.

How do you begin your creative process? For instance, if you are a writer, how do you get into a writing session?

If I am writing a play, I must first begin to auditorily hallucinate. Perhaps bought on by sleep deprivation or involuntary deprivation of prescribed antipsychotics. Happens. All of my plays are transcriptions of psychotic episodes. With auditory hallucinations presenting as multiple character dialogue. I am the only human in the drama. Get some very odd cameos. For my monthly food column for Entropy Magazine? Mental gears begin to turn throughout the month. Gathering gustatory material. Until the essay’s themes and topics are conceptualized. Finally, I brew a pot of coffee, sit down with my laptop and pound it out.

If you don’t mind me asking, how do you capture those hallucinations? Do you keep a notebook close by or are you able to remember?

Because I am on Disability, no job. The myriad psychiatric medications I take to manage my condition make driving a DUI on wheels in Nevada. Their pesky Oxytocin epidemic immobilizes legally prescribed patients, so I don’t drive. Therefore, I am pretty much always at home with time on my hands. Once the auditory hallucinations hit, I sit down immediately at my desk and start typing. 

Where is your favorite place to create and why?

I have a MacBook Pro 15 laptop, Although heavy, it is an excellent workhorse for someone prolific. My favorite place to work is an 2005 black and white IKEA desk. Bookshelves at my right. This ancestral home’s guardian ghosts hover all around me.

What is your favorite music to create to and why?

While writing my novel, Jet Set Desolate, it was the RENT soundtrack. For a very long time between: Lana Del Rey. Lately Cardi B has stolen my ear with her badass swagger and confidence to do and say whatever she pleases. I am inspired by her to be more daring in my already transgressive work.

Do you find that what you are listening to sets the tone for what you end up writing?

With the RENT Soundtrack it did, because Jet Set Desolate’s urban drug addict demimonde intersected with the musical in multiple ways. When I lived in San Francisco doing all the cocaine, my friends and I once stumbled upon a part of South of Market closed off for RENT filming. When I watch the film I see the San Francisco mean streets of my youth.

However, as my writing has progressing in the ten years since. and become more creative nonfiction? I take the essence of what I am listening to rather than the content. Thus the benzodiazepine chill of Lana Del Rey led to relaxed recollections in a series of unpublished memoir novels. 

Cardi B’s ruthlessness, lack of fucks given and willingness to do and say whatever she wants become driving forces in my Entropy columns. Translated through my own life experiences. To her attitude I owe the “innocent bloodbath” scene at the end of my December Entropy essay: “Nip Slips for Christmas.” I drew a pentagram on the bathtub floor of my own saved menstrual blood. Summoned the Virgin Mary, Hecate, Jesus and Satan in Latin. Bathed in the sacred blood of my womb. Scared some familial readers half to death, but que sera sera.

What piece of literature set you on fire most recently and why?

I’ve been reading a lot of Kristin Garth’s poetry in online magazines. Finding it exquisite. Ingrid Calderon-Collin’s poems always blows me out of the water. For inexplicable reasons the book I return to again and again is Cat Marnell’s How to Murder Your Life. Although my novel debut ten year prior is a less monied, more hardcore version of the same drugs, clubs and mental illness downward spiral? The electric zing of Marnell’s glamorous prose always gets me in a blanket fort wearing Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium, glittery scarves and fur. Good times.

What literature or art magazines get you excited and why?                                                  

In print, I enjoy Juxtapoz for the Los Angeles art scene I left behind. Usually I read online literary magazines such as OCCULUM journal, Moonchild, Entropy and Luna Luna.

Where is one place that every person who considers themselves a “creative type” needs to travel to and why?

Given the financial limitations placed upon writers by a broken system, I wouldn’t dare presume. I am on Disability. Must live solely on a fixed income. Never commit fraud by selling paintings or writing. I always write inside my House of the Rising Sun. The coffee is free and the cats are friendly.

Fair point. Is there a particular “space” that you “travel” to regularly (figurative space, I mean)?

I rarely leave my home, except for go to my fiancee’s apartment downtown. However the space I think you mean is an internal spiritual space where magic is possible and hallucinations reality. The spare bedroom in my House of the Rising Sun is a Wiccan chapel. An altar with my own baby teeth, nails, silver crucifixes, candles, funeral cards of beloved dead etc… is surrounded my rings of tumbled rose quartz, amethyst and black Tourmaline. I go in that room to practice witchcraft and pray. I regularly walk down the hardwood hall to this spiritual space. Light candles and incense. Enter a mystical liminal space. Attempt to find power in a world where I am mostly powerless.

What advice would you give to your younger self about the creative process?

As Lana Winters says at the end of American Horror Story: Asylum, standing before her dead lesbian partner’s tomb, “I did it for the story. I just never knew how much it would cost.” I would tell my younger self that you will sacrifice all semblance of a normal happy life. Walk through fire that almost kills you and leaves you deeply scarred. At the end there is peaceful sanctuary. The satisfaction that having failed at almost everything real people do, you excel at a few non remunerative dead arts. I would also tell her: become an engineer instead.

What are you currently working on? This is a space for you to brag a little– what are your most recent pubs, etc.

I write a monthly column for Entropy Magazine called “Dining with a Cursed Bloodline.” It is about my tight knit Reno family. My own queer neurodiverse experiences with cooking and witchcraft. I am extremely thankful for my editor, Stephanie Tsank ,for giving me March off to go to AWP. I plan on writing her a brutal April column. About the pharmaceutical incompetence preventing me from attending after all, when I was a featured presenter and in two off sites. The food focus will be all the ice cream, energy drinks and RxBars I ate in bed grieving. It comes out the last Monday of the month. Archives on my website: http://andreaklambert.com

Where can readers find your books? 

Amazon distributes my novel “Jet Set Desolate” and the anthologies. “Impact: Queer Sci Fi’s Fifth Annual Flash Fiction Contest,” “Golden State 2017: The Best New Writing from California,” “Haunting Muses,” and “Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices.” My Swedish poetry collaboration, “Lorazepam and the Valley of Skin: Extrapolations on Los Angeles / 730910-2155” is available from the valeveil publisher’s site. My chapbook G(U)ILT is out of print. My digital chapbook “Lexapro Diary: Events of January 22, 2007” is available at the Moonchild Magazine site.

Kick

I’d complain it’s too hot

            But I know

you                  and you would tell me

that your skin was practically peeling off the

            bone

            yesterday.

And you wouldn’t remember the metal sign

with the dachshund cut out

                        in curly q’s

that marked the entrance to the hideout

where I am sweating into a trough now.

My skin flakes like bird feathers—

                        Down to the pebbles that support      

            my back about as well as that pillow top mattress

we got conned into buying last year—

you know,

            the one that already has an imprint of you

two feet deep and dry desert dust in its veins like us

like the foreigners that it holds each night as they wish they

were from                                here.

Like us, like us,

            Howling at silver plates and kicking over the bulbs of

the star on the mountain just to see them explode

glass firecrackers

                        in our faces.