Archive for March, 2010

Y S Lee

Posted in update on March 9, 2010 by intoviews
Y S Lee

Y S Lee

what is your name?
Y S Lee. The “Y” stands for Ying.

how would you describe what you do?

I’m in the extraordinarily privileged position of making up stuff for a living. I’m uncomfortable with the term “artist” and approach writing as a craft – though this itself might be a form of reverse-posturing. Sometimes I’m suspicious of my own suspicions.

what are you currently working on?

A novel, THE TRAITOR & THE TUNNEL. It’s the third in my YA series, THE AGENCY, about a women’s detective agency in Victorian London. Think Charlie’s Angels meets Sherlock Holmes.

what has had the greatest influence on your work?

When I finished my PhD in Victorian literature and culture in 2004, the prospect of an academic job made me profoundly unhappy. I loved writing my dissertation – the research, the spark of following an unexpected thread, the thrill of a new realization – but I didn’t want to be a professor. However, I didn’t want to stop thinking and writing about the nineteenth century. So I was motivated by my scholarly background both to flee the academy and to embrace my interests. I’m still a bit shocked to find that it worked out (so far).

what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?

I don’t think I’ve been around long enough to inspire misconceptions. Unless it’s that I would make a good spy. I really wouldn’t.

what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?

I’m completely besotted with language, so tend to see its strengths – rhythm and cadence, endless malleability, the visual beauty of many words. Weaknesses? It’s easy to be lazy with words, rather than to stretch for something more apt. And sometimes I use internal rhyme to the point of parody – but that’s why you edit, right?

how has technology impacted upon the work you do?

I grew up with computers, so write only on my laptop. I don’t think I could write much beyond a point-form list with only pen and paper. I’m not an early adopter, otherwise – only started social networking recently, and still feel very ambivalent about it.

what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?

You have to be a reader before you can be a writer. Read as widely and as deeply as you possibly can. The rest will sort itself out.

where can we find you online?

I update my site, www.yslee.com, weekly (usually on Thursdays).

what are you reading at the moment?

Just finished Lisa Mantchev’s EYES LIKE STARS and am looking forward to Anthony Burgess’s Malayan trilogy, which starts with TIME FOR A TIGER. I’m also snacking on Zadie Smith’s CHANGING MY MIND.

what are you listening to at the moment?

Rufus Wainwright, Florence & the Machine, Elbow, Brahms.

anything else we should know?

The first Agency novel, A SPY IN THE HOUSE, is published this week [Paul: March 9 is the official date] in North America by Candlewick Press. You can download the first chapter from my publisher, here: http://www.candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=0763640670&pix=n. You can read a different excerpt at my website, here: http://yslee.com/a-spy-in-the-house/excerpt/.

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Pilar Berrio

Posted in art, interviews, news, update with tags , , , , , , , on March 6, 2010 by intoviews

what is your name?

Pilar Berrío

how would you describe what you do?

Like a bunch of feelings, sensations, dreams and memories put together on a surface.

what are you currently working on?

I’m working on an illustration for a musician and teaching Illustration in college.

what has had the greatest influence on your work?

European comics and illustration, art nouveau, Asian art, horror movies, B-movies, animation, and all kinds of weird things.

what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?

Some people have told me that I do children’s illustration, maybe for the line or the color, but they certainly are not for children.

what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?

Strength, you can virtually do whatever you may imagine; weakness, there are many people who thinks that what we do as artists is not important.
how has technology impacted upon the work you do?

We are all impacted by technology, with the use of software, you can create images and effects in half the time that you can with an analog technique. And of course conceptually, now we have access to many people’s work and thoughts.

what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?

Keep your mind open.

where can we find you online?

www.pilarberrio.com

http://pilarillustration.blogspot.com/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pilarberrio/

what are you reading at the moment?

The prison of liberty by Michael Ende

what are you listening to at the moment?

Fever Ray

anything else we should know?

I have a green attitude and always try to pass it on.

Juan Santapau

Posted in update with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2010 by intoviews

juan santapau

juan santapau

how would you describe what you do?

Comics, short tales in comic form, under the name “The Secret Knots“. I think of The Secret Knots as an online, growing book of tales. I’ve also described it as “slow motion soap opera”

what are you currently working on?

A comic about the brother of a famous and influential writer of the past who gets obsessed with his brother’s persona. It adds to this other comic called Music and Pie in a series of biographical comics about fictitious characters.

what has had the greatest influence on your work?

Reading a lot of Borges and Cortázar probably, the notion of literature as means and end at the same time. Impressionistic depiction of emotions and reactions in some Japanese novels. Neil Gaiman’s comics and books. The work of many artists I’ve met in the Internet, countless illustrators, particularly the color in the work of bande desinée artist Bengal. The online comic A Softer World which was a big inspiration to start doing webcomics.

what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?

I wouldn’t say misconceptions, but often I leave room for interpretation and it’s always interesting to see how some readers really get away with their ideas to unexpected places sometimes. I enjoy it and don’t feel the need to “clarify” anything, I don’t think there’s much to clarify in these cases.

what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?

Comics are a fascinating medium for storytelling. Telling stories and transmitting ideas through images and words seems natural, almost like the obvious way to do it. I like the way comics let the pacing and the rhythm of the story work in a consensus between the object and the viewer.

Weaknesses? It may be a slow medium to work with, depending on the kind of illustration.

how has technology impacted upon the work you do?

Posting comics on the Internet has certain specific effects, like immediate feedback, the chance to reach ‘casual’ viewers who get to your site through portals like stumbleupon or reddit; the screen reading also determines technical aspects like page layout, font sizes and such. But probably more interesting than that is that certain topics or genres seem to benefit specially from the online transmission: journal comics, brief stories, niche topics. Poetry. Experimental fiction.

what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?

I read somewhere that Grant Morrison said something along the lines of “dont be close-fisted with your ideas.” Use them, do not save them for later, for the great saga, play or movie that you expect to make someday. Use your ideas and trust that more will come. If you read Morrison’s Doom Patrol you know exactly what that means, every page seems filled with such high concepts, over the top ideas and bizarre characters. It’s an electrical read, a synaptic show.

where can we find you online?

The Secret Knots is www.thesecretknots.com

I’ve got a Livejournal at santapau.livejournal.com
And I notify of new comics in twitter with the user name santapau.

what are you reading at the moment?

Finishing Jonathan Carroll’s “The Wooden Sea” and starting Sandor Marai’s “Embers”; a chronological compilation of gothic tales about vampires, a compilation of tales inspired by Michael Moorcock’s multiverse. Several online comics.

what are you listening to at the moment?

Recently: Dif Juz, Atlas Sound, Auburn Lull, David Sylvian, Royksopp, The Knife, Fever Ray, Brian Eno, Asobi Seksu, Lycia, Black tape for a Blue Girl, Spacemen 3 and Ulrich Schnauss. Also Zola Jesus and Pyramids with Nadja, both recommendations from Warren Ellis’ blog.

anything else we should know?

Yes. Recently there was this huge earthquake in my country, Chile. If you’d like to help, there’s this google link: http://www.google.com/relief/chileearthquake/

and probably there’s a local Red Cross near you that may be receiving support.

Jim Churchill-Dicks

Posted in interviews, news, poetry, update, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2010 by intoviews

jim churchill-dicks

what is your name?

Jim Churchill-Dicks. Churchill comes from my marriage to my wife Carol. I was originally named James Richard Dicks, with the playground nickname of Jimmy Dick Dicks. (and my father wanted to name me Buck. Thanks Mom)

how would you describe what you do?
What I do? I am a human doing, trying to become a human being, as the saying goes. I write poetry whose lyric crosses into prose, whose prose often fades into chicken-scratched to-do lists, like:

To Do
1. Teach.
2. Breathe.
3. Break up a teenage-girl fight Feed the Dog.
4. Politely answer questions from the police .
5. Feed the Dog .
6. Laugh over fart jokes with my sons at the dinner table.
7. Grow way too much hair where it doesn’t belong.
8. Confess too much.
9. Sweat like a whore in church- even in February.
10. After thirteen years, remain in reciprocal-love with my wife; a hard won love, a surviving the dragon’s jaws kind of love, an outlasting one’s extended family kind of love.
11. Cry too easily, and constantly have to chop sentiment out of my writing.
12. Share my opinion enough to get me into trouble.
13. Try to convince my students to live longer than me.
14. Write the songs that make the whole world sing. (Right, Barry?)

what are you currently working on?
I have a new chapbook, titled Beyond Telling which I am fine-tuning for submission to this year’s Snowbound Series Chapbook Award, as well as other contests.

I am also eyebrows-deep in editing my newest issue of torches n’ pitchforks- an online teen literary journal, which will come out at the end of February. The theme, like my latest mantra for my students, is “Live On”. You can find it at www.torchesnpitchforks.com

Currently, I am pulling my book-length manuscript Jacob Wrestling from the contest circuit. (actually, I haven’t submitted it anywhere for the past 2+ years) but this Spring and Summer, a literary hero and mentor of mine is going to look over it with me and see it in a new light, so I can adjust the manuscript accordingly.

what has had the greatest influence on your work?

I would have to say generational shame and the redemptive narratives that can come from it, God and Sex, the sacred slow-dancing with the profane, and largely, the natural world of the Pacific Northwest (I am swooning over the Vancouver aerial footage of the Olympics, as I used to guide due-West of Whistler.) I am also hunted (not haunted) by my travels into the former Soviet Union, Romania and Poland, but my present and former students are perhaps the greatest influence on my work.
what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?
There was a short period of time when an academic referred to me as a lesbian love poet. For a white, straight, American male like myself, who has a lust for rolling around in the fragrant pollen of what is considered ‘other’ I was tickled by the compliment. On a slightly related note, I am often mistaken for Jack Black, and when I’m not near a mirror, or an overly-reflective surface, I frequently mistake myself for Lenny Kravitz.
what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?
Poet and professor Elena Georgiou once told a small group of us that a great and unattainable goal of poetry is to become actual music. I try to saturate myself in a variety of art forms which engage the senses in a different way. This tends to help me overcome my great craft-weaknesses of writing with an overly-prescriptive hand.

how has technology impacted upon the work you do?
I believe that technology opens up many new frontiers- especially when exploring the ever-fluxing relationship between form and content. In that vein, I am in love with the online, Born Magazine (www.bornmagazine.org) from Portland, Oregon. I think that they- and the graphic designers they recruit- are currently the best at incorporating the written word with technology.

I am also intrigued by the interactive narrative possibilities in virtual worlds; namely Second Life. In fact, I helped to create and curate an interactive literary exhibit in a virtual island castle, called, The Beautiful Creatures. You can see our blog about it at http://thebeautifulcreatures.blogspot.com or visit what remains of it in-world.
what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?
Other than Mother Teresa’s “Love Anyway” I would have to quote author/poet/beauty Chris Abani, who was quoting his mother, “You can steel your heart against any kind of trouble, any kind of horror, but the simple act of compassion from a complete stranger will unstitch you.”

where can we find you online?
I have a place where some of my previously published work is both gathered and cited where it was originally published. You can find it at: www.jimchurchilldicks.com/writing.htm
what are you reading at the moment?

Honestly? Papers, papers, papers….and short stories and poems from my students. Lately, I have not had many sustainable chunks of time to read for pleasure. I do take nourishing bites frequently, however, from the many books that lie face-down on my night-stand, dresser, coffee table etc. These vignettes at present come from an anthology of Southern Poetry titled, A Made Thing, Chris Abani’s The Virgin of Flames, Valzhyna Mort’s Factory of Tears, Matthew Dickman’s All American Poem and Sam Ligon’s collection of short stories, titled Drift and Swerve.

what are you listening to at the moment?
My sixth-grade son singing The National’s “Fake Empire” in the shower, while getting ready for school.
anything else we should know?
I’m looking for a good local tattoo artist for my first tattoo. Maybe a full-sized tattoo of Brad Pitt’s face, on my face.

Luna Portnoi

Posted in art, interviews, news, photography, update with tags , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2010 by intoviews

what is your name?

LuNa / (moon)

how would you describe what you do?

I express myself out, trying to do it without limits.

what are you currently working on?

I´m painting walls and some different stuff (objects, canvas, illustration, etc.)

what has had the greatest influence on your work?

The universe, feeling it. Nature in all its beauty.

what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?

People tend to think I’m really LuNa, and she´s only a (important) part of myself.

what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?

I do my work by heart so I don´t expect something specific about it. The best thing is sharing it with lots of people and having all kind of feedback.

how has technology impacted upon the work you do?

I don´t use much technology on my work, it´s almost everything made by hand.

But, I can share my work with people all around the world thanks to technology and that´s awesome!!!

what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?

follow your heart and always be true to yourself! Just smile and you will probably change the world (at least yours)

where can we find you online?

www.flickr.com/lunaportnoi

Lunaportnoimarcovsky on facebook.

what are you reading at the moment?

cortázar

what are you listening to at the moment?

right now, Beirut! But I listen lots of music… lisandro aristimuño, Carla Morrison, devendra benhart, the beatles were with me today!

anything else we should know?

everyone in this planet might try some chocotorta, the best cake ever!

Jeremy C. Shipp

Posted in interviews, news, update, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2010 by intoviews

jeremy c. shipp

jeremy c. shipp

what is your name?

My name is Jeremy C. Shipp. Some call me Jer-Bear. The clowns in my attic call me Dinner. But they’re only kidding. I think. I hope.

how would you describe what you do?

I write weird stories from my heart, my mind, my soul, my gut, my spleen. I also spend quite a bit of time living my life in a semi-haunted farmhouse with my wife, my kittens, the aforementioned clowns, and an army of yard gnomes.
what are you currently working on?

I’m living and breathing a new story collection called Fungus of the Heart. Also, I’m creating a few new novels, a comic script, a short film, and other projects.
what has had the greatest influence on your work?

Playing pretend with my brothers as a kid. We would come up with complicated plots and complex characters and we would have fun living in a strange world for a while. And I’m still having a blast doing this. Only now people call me a weird little writer instead of a weird little kid.
what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?

Most people who read my tales understand the meaning of my work. But there are those who hear that I write dark fiction, and assume that I’m an evil person with evil intentions. Some people seem to believe that those who write about disrespectful behaviors are somehow condoning those behaviors. But when I write a dark tale, I’m showing people the horrifying consequences of sexism or racism or hierarchical thought, etc. I’m doing what I can do shine a light on the darkness. I’m trying to do my small part to make our world a better place.

what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?

primarily, I write weird tales, and utilizing such a medium, I can take my readers to strange, unbelievable worlds. And when my characters react to the unbelievable in believable ways, then my characters help to suspend the disbelief of my readers. I don’t really think about art in terms of weakness. Every medium is different, with different powers.
how has technology impacted upon the work you do?

I tend to write about the horrors spawned by civilization and technology, at times, plays a part in those horrors. And so, technology affects the subject matter of my work. In addition, technology is constantly changing the way people read my stories.

what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?

Advice for aspiring writers: Never give up.

Advice for everyone in the world: Never tickle an attic clown.

where can we find you online?

http://www.jeremycshipp.com

http://www.twitter.com/JeremyCShipp

http://www.facebook.com/JeremyCShipp

And you can read a bunch of free stories of mine here:

http://jeremycshipp.com/onlinestories.htm
what are you reading at the moment?

A bunch of Bizarro books, as well as Breathers by S.G. Browne, Holes by Louis Sachar, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon by Spider Robinson, and a couple others.
what are you listening to at the moment?

A Fine Frenzy, Anathallo, The Innocence Mission, Regina Spektor, Yusuf Islam, the theme song from Mr. Belvedere and Charles in Charge.

anything else we should know?

You should know:

1. I have stories forthcoming in Cemetery Dance, Apex Magazine, and other wonderful publications.

2. Boo Berry is more dangerous than he looks.

3. Vicki, from Small Wonder, is secretly plotting to destroy all of humankind.

4. Hedgehogs love to eat carrots.

5. The sound of one hand clapping is: PLINK PLINK PLINK.

Michael Sullivan

Posted in interviews, news, poetry, update, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2010 by intoviews

Michael Sullivan

Michael Sullivan

what is your name?

Michael Charles Sullivan

how would you describe what you do?

Professional Poet

what are you currently working on?

My third collection … Yet to be titled

what has had the greatest influence on your work?

I think the fact I am a manic depressive has coloured a great deal of my work – like most sufferers I am inclined to be introspective… In addition I have an above average IQ and an eye for detail bordering on the obsessive; to the point of being positively anal. Again a trait not unusual in the Bi Polar. All of which combine to fuel my slightly jaundiced but nonetheless brutally frank approach to my poetry.

what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?

That I have a ‘style’… I take each piece as it comes and am happy to explore ALL the poetic tools and styles and constructions in the creative tool box. Hopefully making each piece as individual as its subject matter. Odes to sonnets, rhyme royal to iambic pentameter…

what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?

There is no medium more suited to the expression of those thing; emotions, sensibilities, passions and all things ephemeral than poetry. It pleases me to think of poetry as ‘painting with words’ – from the gentle and gossamer watercolours of Wordsworth to the works of Blake; carved deep and bright and glutinous in oils – forced into the canvas
with a palette knife.
Its weakness however is that the message in poetry is all too often received by people, the poetically savvy, who had already worked it out for themselves – while the wider audience it was intended to inspire rarely if ever actually read poetry. Sometimes it feels like I am trying to teach people to dance who can’t even hear the bloody music….

how has technology impacted upon the work you do?

Technology? I write all my work on the pc… I miss not at all the endless rewrites and the poetic confetti – the myriad screwed up paper balls that used to litter the study floor to ankle deep.

what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?

Never dismiss criticism until you have considered it – it is how we grow as poets – it is what keeps us honest. But learn to differentiate between the genuine observation by the knowledgeable and the petty jealousies of the talentless.

where can we find you online?

Facebook

what are you reading at the moment?

Dan Brown – The Lost Symbol & Tennyson – The Complete Works – Under Milkwood… Again.

what are you listening to at the moment?

Katherine Jenkins ‘Believe’ & BBM ‘Around the Next Dream..’

anything else we should know?

Any other information you need you can get straight from the ‘bio’ in the ‘preview’ section of either of my collections on http://www.lulu.com/sullivanthepoet where there are also cover pictures of both of my collections… Can send you a picture of me if required. Perhaps you would let me know Paul?

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