October 21, 2013: He was a car guy.
Mondays + Writers = Finally something to look forward to.
Today’s featured writer is a poet who takes on the good stuff: “love, lust, and the sea,” Ryan W. Bradley tells us in the introduction to his brand new collection, THE WAITING TIDE. Mikaela Jorgensen, in her review for Gapers Block, says: “The poems are affectionate and sensual and intimate, but written in a way that only a poet can write about these things. You’ll read this collection and wish that someone would write poems like this about you.”
THE WAITING TIDE, a tribute to Pablo Neruda’s The Captain’s Verses, is the first release of Concepción, an imprint of the mighty small press Curbside Splendor, whose mission is “to publish books of elegant prose and poetry in English and Spanish.” And elegant this book is.
Did you write today? If yes, what? If no, why not?
I did! I just finished my weekly NFL diary for The Good Men Project, and I’ve also worked sporadically on a new novella called Winterswim that takes place in my hometown, Wasilla, Alaska. Currently I’m working on a chapter that is the pivot in the story, things are about to race to a climax! Or something…
What’s the first thing (story, poem, song, etc.) you remember writing, and how old were you when you wrote it?
I wrote a couple poems in seventh grade as part of an assignment in my English class. I approached it as a joke, decided I would show my teacher how dumb the assignment was by writing the dumbest poems I could imagine. Problem was I ended up liking them.
What are you reading right now?
I somehow got into the middle of a couple books. I’m reading Jonathan Lethem’s Dissident Gardens, Piper Kerman’s Orange is the New Black, William Alexander’s Goblin Secrets with my five year old, and I’m listening to the audiobook of Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation.
What’s the most important advice you ever received? (Writerly or otherwise.)
When I was younger I was really frustrated with being short. I loved sports, and it’s hard to be taken seriously in sports if you’re short. I spent a lot of time lamenting that I wasn’t taller. My stepdad, who is 6’3″ told me “There will always be someone who’s taller or faster or better than you are.” It’s a sort of grass-is-greener philosophy for analysis of one’s own achievements and goals. “There will always be better” is a sort of mantra. I know it doesn’t matter how good I am at something in comparison to others, I can only be best version of me, and I try hard to do that in everything I do.
If your writing were an animal, what animal would it be? Because…
I can’t think of this kind of question the same way since I listened to the audiobook of Zoobiquity (which is brilliant, by the way). I learned a lot about animal sexuality. Animals are kinky. Lots of animals partake in masturbation and mutual masturbation, and really isn’t writing kind of like mutual masturbation? At least when it’s done well? I’d like to answer this question by just listing hundreds of weird facts I learned, but instead I’d say read Zoobiquity. That’s not a cop-out, it’s just genuine excitement for the naughtiness of the animal kingdom.
Ryan W. Bradley has fronted a punk band, done construction in the Arctic Circle, managed an independent children’s bookstore, and now designs book covers. He is the author of several books of poetry and fiction, including the novel, CODE FOR FAILURE (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2013). He received his MFA from Pacific University and lives in Oregon with his wife and two sons.
→Thanks, Ryan, for the chat. And especially for the very valuable information about animals and their, er, compassion for one another, let’s say. And, once again, thanks everyone for reading! -PMc←