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Welcome to another edition of Writers' Wednesday! Today I'm chatting with the author of a poetry collection, Snapshots of Life, Casey Quinn.
Welcome, Casey! Can you tell us a little about your background?
Well, I live in Charlotte, North Carolina with my wife and two dogs. I work at a bank but always have hopes of writing full time.
I always had enjoyed writing just a little bit here and there but in the last five years I have really started to take a more serious approach to it. Carved out time daily to write either a few hundred words towards fiction or a poem. Started to send out some of my writing to print and online publications to see if it would be accepted and have had some pretty good success with it. Enough to keep me motivated and not stop. I mostly write short fiction and poetry where my focus is on poetry. I am also the editor of the online magazine Short Story Library – http://shortstory.us.com and the publishing company ReadMe Publishing – http://readme.us.com
Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.
My first poetry collection was published in 2009 called Snapshots of Life by Salvatore Publishing. The collection has been pretty well received from the feedback and the sales it has gotten. I was nervous at first with putting my work out there in front of people, you never know if A. They are going to buy it and the B. If they do buy it what they think of it. So far the experience has been great and I have found myself surrounded with a good deal of supportive people I have met over the years.
Here are some of the reviews the book has received so far:
"Casey Quinn is the real deal. There's no pretense in his poetry. No fakery. He just goes out there, day after day, and gets the job done. You can't ask for anything more than that." - poet John Yamrus.
"Snapshots of Life is a good first effort by budding poet Casey Quinn." - poet RD Armstrong.
"Quinn creates poetry that reads like the verbal equivalent of an expressionist painting or a punch to the gut. You read it and get it immediately." - Marc Schuster, Small Press Reviews
The book is available at the printer - http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/snapshots-of-life/6008842 but will also be available on Amazon and other online retailers at some point.
Great reviews - congrats!! Now, how do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
For me the key is never to try and overdo it. I try to set a pace and keep at it. I think the most prolific writers are the ones who can just be consistent enough to write something (anything) every day. Write 100 words. Write 500 words. Write a poem. Something. Every. Day. With that being said I also need to balance my editing and publishing responsibilities on top of my writing and work and home life.
Usually I will try and spend one hour each day and dedicate it to writing. I spend every Saturday and Sunday morning from 6:00 AM to about 10:00 AM reading submissions and getting the magazine ready for publication. In the other hours I try not to think about writing at all really. I try to just spend time with my wife, go for a jog and of course, need to work during the days from 9 -5.
Most of my writing ideas just come from interactions with daily life. Something I saw during the day, a conversation i overheard or something I was involved with. The key to my writing is getting out there and just trying to experience stuff. Stuff becomes notes for eventual writing. So for me, the balance of writing and the rest of my life are in harmony. The rest of life serves to provide fodder for writing.
When you write, do you use the computer or compose by hand, oral dictation, or some other method?
Well, I take notes all of the time. I write on a scrap piece of paper an idea that popped in my head or a moment which struck me as poetic. These pieces of paper get piled on my desk. Eventually I type them up on the computer in a notepad document on my desktop that is just called “notes”. These notes I save for a rainy day when I have nothing interesting going on and no motivation to write. I open up this document and pick something and write about it.
These notes come all the time though. Sometimes in the middle of work I have an idea and write it on a scrap of paper and shove it in my pocket for future reference when I get home. Sometimes the idea is so big it turns into a poem all at once. Unfortunately a lot of times I scribble with pen and paper and a week later when I try to work on the notes I can’t read my own writing and the idea is lost forever.
What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?
Writing poetry has to be because you really just love it. There is no fame or fortune in poetry. If you are easily frustrated by rejection or have big dreams becoming famous by writing poetry, stop and go do something else.
I have heard a lot of people say they write poetry because they have a story that needs to be told. A very specific story. One that describes a moment in life, a snapshot or second that they experienced and felt it poetic. Felt that others should feel the same moment and experience it on their own.
Too many poets starting out cover topics like life, death and love. These topics are too grand, too broad. If you want to write about love write about how you listen to her sing somewhere over the rainbow in the morning when she makes breakfast and she doesn’t know anyone is around listening. Show us love. Show the reader a moment when you experienced it. Don’t use broad terms or vague references. Don’t use words like “love” in a poem when you can show love and make it more impactful and meaningful.
Casey, thank you so much for being here today! I don't have the opportunity to interview many poets, so this blog post was a special treat !! Readers, here's a taste of Casey's work:
i talked to my niece
i had not
i told her
how tall she got,
how grown up she looked,
how smart she seemed.
she told me
how fat i got,
how old i look,
how dumb i am.
it’s really great
to catch up
with the family.